For many, 2020 may be more difficult than previous ones to reflect on the things you are grateful for this past year. Finding gratitude in daily life is a practice that I have found to be quite fruitful especially when times are tough. I don’t just mean the quick little prayers like, “Thank you for my family and friends, my health, etc.” even though many of us are thankful for these.
I have learned that being truly grateful for the obstacles, the challenges, and the trials of life allow us to view that what we have is enough. Finding gratitude during these times require a reflection on the obstacle and understanding the impact you allow it to have on your life.
Today my Thanksgiving thoughts are on just this: being truly grateful for 2020 and how I chose to let it impact my life.
- I am grateful for the 4-month shutdown. It forced me to slow down, find stillness, and to be more focused while living. I now ask these questions in everything I do or say, or reflecting on a dilemma:
- Is this essential?
- Does this align with your virtues of courage, wisdom, temperance, and justice?
- How does this serve others?
- I am grateful for the unstable and inconsistent internet service. It allowed me more time to read and reread some favorite books, expand my non-fiction genres, and to include reading fiction again, more memoirs and biographies, and history. I have read and listened to over 130 books (120 was last count over a month ago!) this year, and enjoying it.
- I am grateful for not being allowed to workout in a gym. (This was/is the most difficult!) I began running and worked my way up to a PR distance (8 miles without stopping or walking). I also rowed a half marathon and a full marathon on my Concept 2 rower during this time. Both of which I have no desire to do again.
- I am grateful for healthy living and eating habits that contribute to a good immune system. I have been very fortunate to not have been infected with COVID-19, nor did I get the flu this past year. I am also so very fortunate to have full health insurance if I were to get sick. I focus on and will continue to focus on preventative care in all aspects that affect health and life – mind, body, and soul.
- I am grateful for a toxic political culture. Yes, and I mean it! Historians would probably say it has NOT been the most toxic in our Nation’s nor the world’s history (after reading about Roman times and watching Ken Burns Prohibition and Vietnam War docu-series, I would probably agree), but for many of us, it has been in our lifetime. Over the last several years, I have been both surprised and simply dumbfounded by some of the behaviors and views of my personal (and some not-so-personal) friends and family – not just about politics but of the many social issues we face. I know that we have a freedom of speech amendment, but just because we have the right to speak our opinions doesn’t mean we should (there is more to unpack here but won’t). I find it disheartening not because of our different opinions in politics, but because of the incongruity of what they claim to be or the values I thought they held, to their online interactions. It’s as if empathy is dead. I have not been perfect either, which is why I have put into practice my three questions (above) to include my online behavior. I am now more deliberate in choosing my social groups both online and personal. I am more vigilant in identifying the dis/mis-information campaigns and choose not to participate. I simply eliminate that which does not align with my values.
Thank you, God, for the many obstacles and challenges thrown our way this past year. I deeply hope that we have all learned some great lessons and even been reminded of those essential things that we have taken for granted. Let us face this day (and each day forward) with a grateful heart knowing that what we have is enough, where we stand is enough, and who we are today is enough.
I am grateful for 2020, and I cannot wait for the challenges of 2021.