Gratitude in Chaos
Here we go again . . . The other day I had my blog written and ready to publish. I read it once, I read it twice. I gave it to my husband to read. I read it a third time, and decided not to publish. It was not that it didn’t have good information, but during this time of pandemic, it seemed too negative. That is not where I want my communications to be.
As I am reading “In Awe” by John O’Leary, due to be released on May 5th, God willing. ReadInAwe.com I am struck by how as we grow older we lose our sense of awe. We get stuck in the mundane. What was daily life like before we were ordered to stay home? Some of you woke up, made breakfast, got the kids ready for school, got yourself ready for work. You dashed to work, and worked all day. Some days you accomplished more than other days. You came home from work, tired and exhausted, put dinner on the table, made sure the kids had done their homework and taken their baths, cleaned the kitchen, did a couple loads of laundry, chatted briefly with your spouse, briefly checking out social media, and throwing yourself exhausted into bed in order to repeat the scenario over and over.
Isn’t that how our lives go? We become an adult and our responsibilities start. We have to earn a living to pay the mortgage or rent, buy food and clothes, pay the utility bills, the car payment, along with any other luxury we afford ourself. On the weekend we are tired and exhausted. We want to enjoy our family, but the house needs cleaning, the car washed, the grass cut. Adults are in a never ending cycle of responsibility. We love our spouse and children, but are too tired to interact as we think we should. Guilt drops by, but we don’t know what to do with it. Sure, isn’t this how our lives just are—isn’t this what my friends are feeling also? Is there a way to stop this merry-go-round?
As awful as this pandemic is, and let me tell you, it is awful, people all around the world are getting sick. The majority are surviving, but there is still way too many dying. This COVID-19 is explosively contagious. Almost every state in the union has a shelter in place order. The majority of businesses are temporarily closed, and some may not recover. Our government is doing what they can to help, but it is an overwhelming issue. They want everyone safe, but closing business gives another sense of threat and insecurity. Keeping businesses open causes the threat of contagion like we have never seen, so they said, stay home. We complain for many reasons—some jobs cannot be done from home, yikes, we are with these children we created ALL day long!
There are no easy answers. This is not a political game. This is worldwide, and the leaders of all these countries are trying to find a solution as fast as they can to save as many lives as they can, and keep their economy running. I am grateful that I am not a politician, because I think it is a no win situation. Somebody is not going to like what is done. They want to blame someone, because it feels better to blame someone or something. Daily the media posts how many people are tested, how many tested positive, and how many died. Those numbers around the world are frightening.
But . . .
We have also been given a gift. It is an unintentional gift. We get to stay home. We get to stay in our pajamas all day if we want. We get to be with our children all day and all night. Granted, we grandparents are separated from them for a time being. We still have ways to communicate, through FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, telephone, and text messages.
We get to take time to live in awe. Look at life through your child’s eyes. Remember when you were a child and you could go outside and make daisy chains, and blow the seeds of dandelions all over the yard? You ran around in the evening catching fireflies, and you were in awe that their little butts lit up!
Today you get to sit at the table and have dinner with your family without having to jump up and run yourself or your children to some event. You get to communicate. You get to hear, really hear everyone around you. You can go out in your back yard or take a walk, and see the beauty of this universe.
A really big suggestion is to make a gratitude list. What are the things you are thankful that you have in your life? As I write my list from the top of my head, I hope this gives you an idea of what to be grateful for—what is good in your life—instead of seeing fear everyday, seeing joy and blessings. Here is my quick list.
My Gratitude List (just off the top of my head):
- I woke up today—that I have been given another day of life.
- The beauty of nature all around me.
- My family—spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, extended family.
- The internet — I cannot imagine this pandemic happening in 1985, when we would have not been able to connect, work from home, and be entertained so easily—because of the internet. How did they manage in 1919?
- Healthcare workers and scientists—so many people in the fight for my life, and yours.
- Our leaders—like them or not, they are working hard, must be exhausted, and trying their best to find a solution. Where ever you live in the world, your leaders are not taking this lightly—I am grateful that this is a worldwide effort by some very tired, exhausted people, who will not stop working until a solution can be found.
- My God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — who redeemed me, loves me, holds me, and makes me feel secure.
- My friends far and wide, friends from my childhood, from church, from school, from my past employment, new friends made over the last few years. I can talk to them through social media, by texting, by phoning.
- Plenty of food. My refrigerator, freezer, and pantry has plenty of food.
- Safe drinking water—not everyone has that.
- Time to slow down, even more than I have as a retiree, to realize I really don’t need a lot. I have been blessed with abundance.
I have learned that when I start seeing the the good in my life, rather than the bad, my life grows bigger, is enriched, and brings a sense of real peace. If I dwell on the negative of how bad things are, I can easily fall down that rabbit hole.
I chose gratitude. I choose to see what is happening around me as a time to redirect—what is really important in life—it’s surely not the rat race we tend to get ourselves into.
What do you choose?