Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Filling the Tank After a Year of Running on Empty


Filling the tank. No, this isn’t about gasoline. It isn’t a post about travel. This is a post about renewal.


Over a year ago, we learned of a strange new virus traveling around the globe. COVID-19. The State of Ohio shut down. We had a stay at home mandate. It was quickly followed by a mask mandate. The novelty of “work-at-home” and wear masks around all the time, faded fast. 


But we are a country founded on a pioneer spirit. We sewed masks out of old clothes, washed our groceries, and found new ways to stay in touch with those we love. We learned how to “zoom” and likely spent more time on the internet and phone than ever before. My mother and I became a “pod.”


We mourned the loss of people we love. We hurt for others as we watched the horror of the virus play out on television. Someone on Facebook said we were “running on empty.” Maybe.


My mother got the vaccine. So did I. Then it became available to my daughters and their husbands. Even my oldest grandsons are now fully vaccinated. It was time to “fill the tank.” 


It started with hugging my family. Since each family member had to wait his or her turn for the vaccine, we remained masked up, but we hugged. We sat in the same room. We gathered outside. We hugged.


Being vaccinated also gave me the opportunity to travel to South Carolina in April. It was to be a working vacation. The timing, though, allowed for us to get together socially with close friends who also had been fully vaccinated and play games at the table in the condo. We enjoyed meals together. We could ditch the masks for walks on the beach. The ocean always fills my tank. I always return with a sense of renewal, but that trip filled my tank with the social interaction I missed.


Then last week my oldest daughter and her family went camping. My mother and I drove to the campsite for an overnight visit. Walking by the lake, sitting by the campfire, cooking and eating together, and playing games…it all served to “fill my tank.” 


As I write this, the governor of Ohio has officially opened our state. Masks are no longer mandated. (Though I hope people will don them when they have a cold or the flu to protect others.)


My Bible study group is meeting in person. We’ve made plans to attend the dinner theater in October. We are closer to what we call normal than we’ve been in over a year. 


We celebrate Normal. It is the normal, the ordinary, all we used to take for granted that “fills our tank.”


What is that one event or interaction that you have longed for these past months? What is it that fills your tank? 

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