Searching for Gratitude Amidst the Turmoil and Fear

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate.  
When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.

There is no question we are living in unusual times.  Except in science fiction novels did any of us ever imagine a life quite like the one we're living this at very moment.  Sadly, we have been told and I believe, things will be getting even more strained in the coming weeks and many are panicked, frightened, and worried.  Some aren't worried enough.  We are being challenged right now - as a nation, as a state, a community, a family and even as individuals to step up.  We are asked to sacrifice, whether that sacrifice is to stay home, stay isolated, or just to live outside our comfort zone, it's now more important than ever for us to work together to do whatever it takes to get through this time with as little consequence as possible.  Will it be easy? Not at all!  But just as those who have faced other life or death challenges individually in sickness or natural disasters have done what was needed to come out the other side better and stronger, we too WILL get through this.  I think when this is finally over, we will be stronger. We will know the importance of family unity.  We will learn to get back to basics and we will  realize we are stronger and more resilient than we think. 
As this first week of real change has come about, as we have seen stores and restaurants closing, as we see the numbers of cases rise and have all begun in earnest to prepare for the long haul, I have been focusing on gratitude.   Amidst the worry and changes in our normalcy, we have so much to be grateful for.  In no particular order.....

  1. I'm grateful my mom was released from the hospital yesterday (her second stay in a month) and can isolate away from others.
  2. I'm grateful our daughters can work from home and care for the grandchildren.
  3. I'm grateful we took the reports seriously a few weeks ago and stocked up on food and essentials and that (thanks to my parents' example) we always are one ahead on most non-perishables and paper products, including plenty of toilet paper.
  4. I'm grateful I am a homebody and introvert and that I actually thrive on solitude and staying in.  
  5. I'm grateful that the main outing I enjoy is a road trip on a dirt road....something I hopefully won't be restricted from during this crisis.
  6. I'm grateful for generous businesses that are not only providing 'take-out' but are doing it at great prices....Augie's, Ted's, Mom & Pop's, and many, many more.  
  7. I'm grateful my family is all close-by so while we're all healthy and isolating from the 'world' we can still see each other regularly and share food and laughs.
  8. I'm grateful to have the free time and a reason to stay home to tackle those projects I've been talking about but never get to.  Now there's no excuse.
  9. I'm grateful for a church that stays in touch with encouraging emails and prayers.
  10. I'm grateful this pandemic came now instead of in December, for many reasons, but particularly so the weather is conducive for being outdoors.  Moms appreciate this too.
  11. I'm grateful I enjoy my spouse's company......although we'll see if that changes after several weeks of togetherness. LOL
  12. I'm grateful for all the people who continue to risk their own health for the sake of ours.....the health professionals, the restaurant and store personnel, the food bank workers and all those making sure everyone who needs food can get it.
  13. I'm grateful for our governor for taking action to limit exposure and a school district that did the same.
  14. I'm grateful for the internet, social media and landlines so that I can keep in touch with family and friends.
  15. I'm grateful my lawn company is taking advantage of high school kids being out of school and is getting a head start on spring clean ups.  It's great to look outside at the clean yard and just anticipate spring creeping up from the earth.
  16. I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn to live more mindfully, think before wasting whether it's leftovers or toilet paper, and spend this confinement thoughtfully and efficiently.
We can and we will get through this.  One of my favorite memes this past week said, 'your grandparents were called to war, you're being called to sit on the couch'.  That pretty much sums it up.  For those who aren't lucky enough to stay home and stay well, I pray for your continued health.  For the rest of us who are lucky enough to have that luxury....for heaven's sake, stay put.  Chris Cuomo said it best in his Closing Argument this week....we need to surrender the Me to We.  We need to consider what is in the best interest of others - our parents, our grandparents and all those with conditions that make Covid-19 life threatening.  Aren't they more important than whatever you're shopping for besides essentials?  Let's get real people and push the panic aside and focus on preparation, peace and gratitude.  My list seems long at 16.  I challenge you to take a moment  to  consider what you have to be grateful for in this challenging time.  If this post seems pollyanna or sappy, trust me, I wrote it as much to encourage me and settle my fears as I wrote it for you.  I am not for a second underestimating the seriousness of this.  But....I will not let it consume me either.  So, be careful and be well and keep in touch.

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