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.