Gratitude

There are times in life when it’s hard not to feel sorry for ourselves, and this is definitely one of them.  We’re grieving for our old way of life, when we could come and go as we pleased,  hang out with friends and family, and being in a large crowd wasn’t dangerous and illegal.  We’re worried that we might get seriously ill, or that someone we love might get sick and or die, and our hearts break for all of those who are grieving a loved one right now or battling this virus themselves.  It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, anxious and depressed, and of course, that is often exactly what we are feeling these days.

But we’re in this for the long haul, and personally, I can’t live in a constant state of worry and fear.  So I try very hard to focus on the things in my life that are still good, right here and now, even in the midst of the chaos.  And I’ve found that once I stop worrying quite so much about what might happen and yearning quite so much for what I once had, I realize that there are still many things in my life that inspire nothing but gratitude.

I’m grateful that I still have my health, and that no one in my family has yet caught this virus.  I know that can change at any time, which is why I’m also incredibly grateful for all the brave souls in the health care field who are risking their own health every time they go to work.   Their dedication and courage will not be forgotten anytime soon.

I’m glad that I’m able to provide childcare for my grandson while his daycare is closed, because few things are better than spending time with a grandchild.  And as anyone who cares for toddlers knows, they are a wonderful distraction from the worries in life, both big and small.

I’m grateful that I have a back yard I can enjoy when I feel the need to get out of my house, especially now that there are signs of Spring everywhere I look.  In the midst of so much loss, it’s reassuring to see the signs of new life in the budding trees and the blooming flowers.  Spring is all about new birth and renewal, and that’s a message we can use right now.

I’m grateful that so far, I’ve been able to get everything I truly need in terms of food and basic supplies.  The empty shelves in the supermarkets do fill back up, and the temporary shortages remind me not to take any of it for granted.  Even in the face of this contagious virus, people are still producing food and medicine, delivering it to the stores, and working at those stores so that the rest of us can have what we need to live.  And immense gratitude is the only possible response.

I’m grateful for the small things that make these days so much easier to bear:  getting lost in a good book, spending the evening playing Yahtzee with my husband, and talking to my mom on the phone every day, especially when she tells me she’s doing just fine.  I’m cooking more than I have in years, so I’m especially grateful that my husband always tells me that what comes out of my kitchen “tastes great,” even those times when I know it doesn’t.

But most of all, I’m grateful for all the wonderful people in my life who take the time to stay in touch because there is no way in the world I would get through the upcoming weeks without their support.  Sharing our worries, offering each other encouragement, helping each other find some way to laugh and be happy, even for a little while, makes all the difference.  So to everyone who is reaching out right now, through phone calls, texts, emails, blogs, or social media….thank you.  Because you are a reminder that together, we really will get through this.  And I couldn’t possibly be more grateful for that.

108 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. Ann-

    We all gave to stop for a moment each day and center ourselves in these times and your reminder to also be grateful for the here… the now… and what we have and not for what we don’t.
    Stay strong, stay healthy and stay safe! Thank you for stating your gratitude for health care workers. My daughter-in-law is putting in hard hours there in your area. Many times I am sure she feels no one cares what they go through on a daily basis. Now faced with this virus those issues are magnified to a whole new level. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yes, I know the health care workers are stretched thin enough in normal times, and now this is more than doubling their load. We truly are grateful for each and every person who is on the “front lines” of this battle. And I hope that when this is over, they are rewarded with some extra time off. They will both need and deserve it!!

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  2. I feel much the same, Ann. There is a graduate seeping in as the calendar days flip over. I feel when this is all over, or contained, there will be a rush to the movies, restaurants, and concert halls. There will be a big splash, satisfying the crave to “get out and do”. At the same time, all those emotions melt away when a loved one is confirmed with the virus. I fear there will be so many of us with the ultimate loss. You’re right, it’s best to enjoy what we have and where we are during this time. Stay well & guarded. Alan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we are gradually adjusting to this new reality, and chances are that many of us will know someone who gets this disease and some of us will know someone who succumbs to it. Bearing that in mind does make it easier to live with these restrictions, and we can dream of the day when the virus is finally either gone or at least contained. Meanwhile, we just need to be gentle with each other and with ourselves.

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  3. Like you, Ann, I am trying very hard to focus on things that are still available to us and bring joy to our hearts. Like you, we have a backyard big enough to feel being part of nature. We live in a very small community of under 200 people. Crowding is not an issue here, especially at the lakeshore at this time of the year. My wife has rediscovered her passion of creating art, painting rocks, and we play games in the evening or watch a few shows together. We miss our children and grandchildren. But we have the phone to connect, and that will do for now. Best wishes and stay safe! Peter

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, now is the time to focus on what we still do have, I think. I’m glad you and Biene live in an area where you can still get out in nature every day, as I think that’s so important for staying positive and healthy. I miss gathering with my family, too, but as you say, at least we can talk on the phone and know that the time will come when we can all get together again and celebrate!

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  4. Blessings to you for this sweet post, a reminder of how important thankfulness is to us, especially now. When I feel a little down, I am quickly aware of how very blessed we are. Thank you, Ann, and may you continue to be in good health with your family, enjoying that dear grandson!

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    • Thank you so much! I hope you and Aaron stay safe and healthy as well. It is good for us to “count our blessings” now and then, as it counteracts the sadness and anxiety we can’t help but feel now and then as we adjust to this new reality. My “aha” moment came when I found myself wishing I could just go to sleep and wake up in mid-May or so, and then I realized: that’s stupid! This is my life now, and there’s plenty of things I can still enjoy. Why would I want to wish a part of it away?

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  5. Oh, your post made me emotional. I also find comfort in my backyard, looking at my cherry tree buds. And what a grateful husband you have that says that your food tastes great. Mine sometimes tells me straight forward that salt is missing in my food. Stay safe and well!

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    • I’m glad the post helped, Svet! This year’s Spring reminds me that there is always a Spring after every Winter, if you know what I mean. As for my husband…yeah, I’m lucky that he tells me my food is good, even when it’s not. The only way I can tell which meals he doesn’t really like is that when he never asks me to make certain dishes again….

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is like a breath of fresh air. The lack of freedom initially stifled me, and I lost myself to self-loathing, but yesterday I had an epiphany of sorts (as cliches as that might sound!) I realised to make the most of what I have, and I knew I was blessed. And your inspirational words simply reinforced that need to count my blessings. Thank you for this. We live in dark times, but there’s always a silver lining and we should be thankful for it.

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    • I had a hard time with the lack of freedom at first too…it actually felt scary. But then I got used to it, and remembered that it was for a good cause, and that I still have all the things that I really need. More importantly, that I am still connected to all the people I love, even if we can’t visit in person for a while. Once I figured that out, my anxiety level went way down. I’m glad my post helped you, as that was what I had hoped. It helped me to write it too.

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  7. Thanks for this Ann. You and the other Anne (LA) are always in my mind with similar posts. I’m fluctuating daily between all the positives and all the “world is about to end” thoughts. Your post has helped me to put things into perspective, if only for a few moments ❤

    Are you able to see your mom?

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    • I’m glad it helped put things into perspective, Kathy, and that was sweet of you to let me know. I think it’s so important that we support each other now, because we all have our moments of giving into the fear and anxiety. It’s hard not to when we wee the changes this virus has wrought all over the world. But it will not last forever, it’s not the end of the world, and we still have so much to be grateful for. Sometimes I think that’s a mantra I just need to repeat whenever I’m feeling low!
      I can take Mom supplies, but I can’t visit her apartment. They are going to restrict the residents to their apartments beginning Tuesday (they have already cancelled all resident gatherings two weeks ago), and the staff will deliver their meals to their door. It’s for the best in terms of her safety, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about the effects of long-term isolation on someone who is almost 90. I take comfort in the fact that I can call her daily, and have asked my sisters to do the same.

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  8. Thanks for the reminder that there is so much to be grateful for. I was just bemoaning my failed dinner and it wasn’t so bad because we both ate it and it did taste good (even if I’ve made it better with the right kind of noodles)… I’m going to make my gratitude list for Sunday prayers…

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    • That’s a good idea, I think! It’s so easy to focus on all we have lost, including our peace of mind, so we need tangible reminders that we haven’t lost everything. It keeps things in perspective, I think, and helps us to cope.

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  9. Thanks for the reminder that there is so much to be grateful for. I was just bemoaning my failed dinner and it wasn’t so bad because we both ate it and it did taste good (even if I’ve made it better with the right kind of noodles)… I’m going to make my gratitude list for Sunday prayers…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I sat in a hot bath tonight and I was so amazed that I was able to. I had running clean water. It was nice and hot and so divine.
    Much to be grateful for, for sure.

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  11. Ann, as many times before you have so eloquently said what so many of us are thinking.
    We can get thru this difficult time by focusing on what we can do rather than what we cannot; on what we still have control over rather than what we can’t change and most of all on keeping in touch with the people what are important to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You put that very well yourself, Mike, and I couldn’t agree more! The way to keep our spirits up is to focus on the good things (I love it when the news reports how many people have recovered from this virus, but they so rarely do that). It doesn’t mean we ignore the bad, it just means we realize that there is still a lot in our lives to be grateful for, and that helps so much.

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    • Thanks, Ally! I think that is one of the joys of writing and reading: when we write, we tap into thoughts and feelings we were barely aware of, and when we read, we sometimes think, “Yes! That is exactly what I think too!” And it helps to know we’re not the only ones. I hope you stay safe and well too!

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  12. It’s good that you’re focused on the good things in your life right now, Ann. I like your reference to the coming of Spring, which I am noticing as well. It really does provide a little boost to see the signs everywhere!

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    • Thanks, Alan! We don’t know how this will play out, but we do know that supporting each other will end this quicker and lessen the damage. And personally, I couldn’t face it without the support I’ve received, so I try to “pay it forward” by offering comfort and support to others. The blogging community helps a lot…thanks for being a valued part of that!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ann your post captures so much of what we are all experiencing and feeling so well. As always, so well written. Gratitude is so important especially during times of challenge and hardship and sorrow. A quote from Rumi: “Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life”

    We have so much to be grateful for. I was just thinking about those of us who blog and how privileged we are to be in circumstances that we can do so. India right now comes to mind, where social distancing is a luxury that most do not have, running water is often not available and food shortages are starting to hit many areas and this is just the beginning. So much heartbreak. Honestly the only way to cope with it is to feel gratitude at what we have and can be grateful for.

    How wonderful that you provide day care for your grandchild. What a wonderful way of giving and showing love.

    Thank you for an important message.

    Peta

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  14. It is hard to feel grateful when we are grieving for the lives we perceived we had but you are so right! I often wonder how hard it was during the Spanish Flu pandemic with little health care or medicines. Keep well and keep safe. K x

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  15. Yes, I have much to be thankful for also. None in my family has come down with it and all are well. Thanks for the admission that it is not easy to not feel sorry for ourselves and the reminder that we can find even small things to be grateful for. It could always be worse and for many it will get worse, so be grateful for today!

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    • Oh believe me, I’ve had my share of pity parties. But then I get over it and “put on my big-girl panties” and remember that I really am strong enough to deal with this. Especially with the help and support of others, and I’ve been lucky enough to know many supportive people! Thanks for being part of my blogging community!

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  16. Counting my blessings, each and every one. And your blog is one of ’em! Also…
    Right now enjoying a single scoop of Kemps chocolate chip ice cream, slowly, licking the spoon clean and tasting each chip as it melts on my tongue. Because where else do I need to be right now?

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    • You know, that is one of the few upsides to this horrible situation….we do have time to really savor life’s little pleasures! Please know that I am very grateful for your blog as well. You have a real talent for short fiction. (And I say that as a former English major in college. I’ve read a lot of fiction, so I know whereof I speak!) Thanks for being part of my blogging community, Liz!

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    • Oh, Carolyn, I’m so sorry!! I’m afraid that before this is over many of us will know someone who gets this virus, and not all of them will recover. I know that church friends become a second family to us, so please accept my sympathies for your loss. And my heart breaks for his family…

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  17. A lovely post, Ann. An attitude of gratefulness is not only more enjoyable than constant worry, but it’s healthier. I too am getting used to the idea that this pandemic is not going to end any time soon (if ever). As I move into retirement, plans are on hold and may have to change permanently. But life is still worth living and loving. The sun still rises. Huge gratefulness here for those people everywhere who are keeping things going for the rest of us. Stay well. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, there is still a lot that is the same in our world, and that is comforting. Personally, I believe this pandemic will end, we just don’t know how soon. But whatever comes, we sill cope and adapt. Thanks for your kind comment!!

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  18. Amen to every single word you wrote Ann. We have so much to be grateful for and in that we have our biggest blessing. Thank you for a beautiful post that I’m sure every person who reads will relate to. Stay safe and well my friend. xx

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  19. Great piece of writing, Ann! You’re so right, in spite of everything going on, if we just take moment to look around and be grateful for the blessings we have instead of what we’ve temporarily lost maybe our attitude and minds will be lifted a little more. It really is depressing to see all the lives that has been lost but we have to focus on the positive as much a possible or we will slowly slip into a place that isn’t healthy for us or those around us. We can do as much as we possibly can to help ourselves which in turn will help others. Nice job!

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    • Thanks, George! It’s sometimes hard to be grateful in the midst of so much loss: our personal freedoms, time with our family and friends, and in far too many cases, people’s very lives. It’s almost hard to say we’re grateful for anything without feeling guilty. But we can’t stay mentally healthy in a constant state of fear, anxiety and grief…we have to recognize the good that is still in our lives, all around us. We need that balance, I think. Sometimes we even have to go looking for it, because news reports focus almost solely on the negative. But the good news is there, and it helps to hear it as well.

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  20. It’s nice to see someone with the same attitude. I try to focus on things I can control. I wish I could do more but I can’t. By taking care of things I can see and touch I’m doing things in my own little way of making things better. Peace to you. We’ll get past this thing. Soon I hope.

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    • Thank you, Bryan! Yes, there’s no point in obsessing about the things we can’t control, or in failing to address the things we can. And every positive thing we do, no matter how big or small, really does make a difference. You’re right: we will get past this thing. And the sooner, the better!

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  21. It can be liberating to stand back from worrying about things you can’t control and stick to the things that you can. Some may call that fatalistic, but it helps keep anxiety from getting out of control. Hang in there and be well.

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    • Thanks, Deepa! These are trying times for sure, and we are all ready for it to be over. But being with friends and family…even when that’s only a phone call….makes all the difference. Take care and be well!

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  22. Ann, this is an amazing article. It serves as a powerful reminder how even when so much has changed – there are many things that haven’t. These beautiful little moments in life are definitely ones to be grateful for!

    I’m a firm believer that out of our greatest struggles and adversities can come our greatest blessings. When we get shaken out of our ‘normal,’ we really how extraordinary our everyday moments can be. While we don’t wish for the pain or the hardship, so much good can come from it.

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    • Thanks, Holly, for sharing that insight! And I think you are right, as hard as these times can be, some good will definitely come out of it, especially if we are open to looking for it. I don’t like living in uncertain times, but not being able to plan ahead has forced me to live more in the moment. And I have some opportunities now that I didn’t have before, such as spending so much time with my grandson. But by far the most amazing gift has been seeing so many people, all around the world, reaching out to support each other through this. That’s amazing and wonderful!!

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  23. god bless you mam, miss you, as u are the one who gave me wishes for my new blog. and whenever i read your blog, it always touch my heart……. sorry cant express what I am feeling coz I am not perfect in expressing my thoughts in English language, but yes I will only say that , U are the lady having beautiful soul , thank u for your kind words that day, always miss u really, god bless u in this crucial time and after that tooo.. Love to you from India.

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  24. Beautifully written, Ann! You’re so right – there’s still much to be grateful for in our lives, and that we can take encouragement from the little things like flowers in our gardens, and people who keep fighting and working for the communities. Take care and stay safe!

    Liked by 2 people

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