Honestly, if it weren’t for work, I don’t know that I’d actually remember what day it is anymore. Yet, I’m doing my best to stick keep our family in a pattern of normalcy (or as close to normalcy as possible) amidst all the crazy. This week has been a hard one for many, and more than once, I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmingly bummed…and yet blessed at the same time. If there’s anything this COVID-19 virus is teaching me, it’s lessons in gratitude. Both big and small, little things remind me each day how immeasurably blessed we are and, though I find that so much of the media is dominated by the chaos and sadness, I want to focus on the good today.
So, instead, I want to share five little lessons in gratitude that we’ve had this week. Each of these reminders gave us a glimmer of hope on the horizon, and each one gives us faith in people. I hope that you, too, are finding these in your neck of the world.
1 // The Weather Has Been Perfect
Each day, my children spend hours in the sun, soaking up the fresh air – Mieke included. While I’m sure we’ll see more rain this spring season, I’m grateful for this literal calm in the storm, and we’ve had many hours spent on our bikes, playing with sidewalk chalk, and simply enjoying nature’s medicine. In a time when socializing is verboten, having the great outdoors smile upon is is nothing short of a blessing.
2 // Family Time is More Important Than Ever
Is it just me, or have you seen more families together and actually interacting than in months (maybe years, even) prior? I’ve seen so many families riding their bikes together. Mothers are spending sunny afternoons outside playing with their children. Meals are spent together and we, like may military families, are enjoying the ability to have our favorite soldier actually spend dinner with us each evening. One of my friends said it best; she said, “I love that this time apart has sort of forced us all back together,” and she’s right. It has.
3 // Communities Are Coming Together
I realize this is a blanket assertion but, for our neighborhood at least, there seems to be a new sense of camaraderie. Neighbors post on our community page when they’re going to the store and snag items if a neighbor needs them. A smile and a wave is now par for the course; almost like a show of solidarity between those enduring the same chaos and hardships. Neighbors are readily donating household items to others and doing their best to help lighten the load. It’s neat that we’ve met more neighbors in this time than our entire year on post prior.
4 // The Unsung Heroes Keep Us Going
I made our first grocery trip in a couple weeks today, and it was pure chaos. They’re obviously understaffed, there are item limits posted throughout the store, and there’s a frenetic energy throughout the entire commissary. And yet, the baggers and cashiers are in the thick of it, working hard at what usually appears to be a thankless job. They bag the goods, putting themselves in the middle of the frenzy, and usher customers on their way, making room for more. If that’s not heroic in a time like this, I don’t know what is.
5 // I’m Still Employed
It’s been a hard few months for the travel industry, and I think I’m safe in saying that there are no more outlets in travel that are immune to the effects of the virus. My company, like many, has been hit very hard and, unfortunately, tough decisions had to be made this week. Ryan and I had prayed that I would remain employed through this time, but we were realistic. We knew it was unlikely that I would make it through unscathed. Yesterday, a large number of lay-offs, role eliminations, and more were announced, as well as company-wide pay cuts. Today, I’m still working. My job still exists. I’m grateful to weather a pay cut to remain employed, and I will continue to pray to make it through this employed.
I’m so hopeful that we’ll be on the upswing soon, and my heart has definitely had its heavy moments this week. There’s so much good in this world though, and if these lessons in gratitude are a true indicator of that. I hope that you have a beautiful weekend with your families, my friends.