Even in a pandemic we can be thankful.

Having a holiday about gratitude may feel a bit off given the rising cases of the Coronavirus and our democracy in limbo. You may be wondering if there is anything possible to be thankful for in 2020. We all know now how to weather the pain and sorrow, as well as the heartbreak, of true isolation. We have experienced the frustration that comes from being stuck in our homes. We have now lived with the anguish and the loneliness of not being in the daily presence of friends and neighbors. Of not being able to be with children or grandchildren and feel their precious hugs and experience that tender touch of another human person.

Every day our anxiety and stress increased with the fear of being infected with the virus as the number of positive cases and deaths increased. However, there are silver linings and often beautiful byproducts that emerge through sorrow and pain. It is through this experience that we have come to realize a deep sense of gratitude for those who are continuing the frontline battle against this disease. Nurses and physicians, all hospital workers who are putting their lives on the line to save others. We are thankful for all those who continue to leave their homes each day, endangering their own health, to keep up fed and supported with life-essential things. Grocery store workers, postal workers, delivery drivers, all doing their part to help us endure and survive within our new isolated realities. There are great lessons to be learned from this, one being that we must not be shortsighted and we should look beyond our circumstances. COVID-19 has changed our perspective to value the hard work of frontline workers. It has helped us see them with respect and dignity. So, there is something that we can all learn and carry with us through and beyond this experience.

It is easy to dwell on the fact that Thanksgiving may have to be a virtual event this year, however, there are people who are facing worse situations. How about being thankful for being alive and breathing on our own. Or how about being grateful that our legs work and we can walk. For me, I am thankful for the 25 great Thanksgivings I have had, one bad Thanksgiving out of 25 is pretty amazing.

I hope that this pace of life allows us to slow down and find balance on the other side out of this. May we all take time to appreciate the company of family and friends, the importance of long conversations, meditation, and time in the kitchen, in our gardens, the sound of birds outside, reading, writing, and learning new isolation skills. I hope we carry with us the acts of kindness we have witnessed and heard during this time. May we remember the resilience of the human spirit and try to emulate those who have been a light in dark times. I hope we remember that our actions really do matter. I hope that the pandemic challenge will teach us wisdom on many levels and when this is all said and done, let’s cherish the beauty of “normal”.

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