When I was a little girl riding along in the car with my mother, she would frequently say something like, “Aren’t the tree leaves just beautiful right now?” “Or, “thank you, Lord, for a beautiful sunny day.” I would look over at her and realize I had not even noticed the leaves or the sunshine, let alone appreciated them or given thanks for them. I’d look at the leaves and think, wow, she’s right.
My mother, however, had learned a simple secret she practiced every day. Be thankful.
Even though I grew up with her great example, I still forget that happiness and contentment start with thankfulness. I still have to remember to slow down to see the beauty, my material blessings, or people around me that give my life such meaning.
Recently, I heard someone say, “when you are going through a hard time, find one thing you can be thankful for each day. Just one.”
So here are some things I am thankful for during this cocooning coronavirus time:
- The kindness of people. Folks are remembering to keep their distance, not shake hands, cleaning surfaces, and offering kind words like, “stay safe.” Some companies are offering supplies and curb side pickup or early hours for the elderly. We are still a kind nation.
- We are becoming a more grateful nation. We are appreciating our hospitals and care givers, the police keeping us safe, grocery workers restocking shelves, and the truck drivers transporting goods across our land to fill those shelves. Parents are appreciating the job teachers do more than ever.
- We have time for family or to start a hobby! We are sharing more meals around a table, playing board games (Mexican dominoes anyone?), laughing together, watching TV, and working or playing outside together. Perhaps you are taking walks, reading more, starting a new hobby, and maybe even eating better.
- We are learning to be prepared for emergencies. Maybe folks will stock up with supplies so the next time we have a local or national crisis we won’t have empty shelves at the grocery stores and everyone will have toilet paper! If you feel you can’t afford to stock up, just buy a few extra can goods or a package of TP or tissue paper each week. Slowly overtime you will have a stock pile that will help you get through the next emergency. * Fresh baked bread, anyone? The shelves at my grocery store have been pretty bare in the bread area, which has made me buy bagels or tortillas or bake bread! Nothing beats fresh bread out of the oven. If you don’t know how to bake bread, now is a great time to try.
- We live in the information age. Our kids can learn online from home and some of us can do our jobs remotely. We can FaceTime, Skype, text, email, video conference, and even use our old fashioned phones to talk if we want to. We are not alone or isolated. When the Spanish flu hit in 1918, these weren’t options. By 1920 only 35% of people had phones. We carry them around everywhere.
As I sit at my desk writing this post, I can see the empty barren fields that will soon be planted with soy beans or corn. Right now they are filled with little purple flowers that don’t know they’re weeds.
These cute little flowers remind me that we can find beauty in the ugly, barren, dirt. They speak the language of joy just like a real flower. No one has told them they are weeds. I am thankful for the beauty they bring me.
This time of cocooning may feel like the slow start of spring. Some days are still cold and wet and all we see are weeds coming up. We just want summer to come and the coronavirus to be over. But if you look hard you can see beauty, hope, kindness, and change.
What is one thing you are most thankful for in these trying times? Let me know in the comments.