Ten Things

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This is a great time to think about things for which we might be grateful.

Why particularly now?

Now is an easy time to get angry at our family, or whomever happens to be close by when we’re confined to a small space. Some of us are starting to climb the walls. The political differences we’ve been experiencing acutely for the past three years have reached life or death importance. Yes, you’re right, they always have been. I’m not disagreeing. Maybe the difference is it’s clearer to all of us now because it’s our lives rather than someone else’s. I’m not writing that post yet.

Gratitude may be furthest from our minds right now. That’s dangerous. When we can’t remember that we have much to be thankful for, we start to see the negatives more, to focus only on them, and they quickly become blinders. During this strange season, I’ve been pondering how much our attitude toward specific things impacts how we perceive our overall well-being. I, for one, am very susceptible to letting the one thing upon which I’m fixating leach into how I feel about everything else. I stop seeing good things because I’m having that same futile, imaginary argument in my head a hundred times. I’m certain none of you have ever done this, but it is a real problem for me.

Am I overflowing with happy gratitude right now? No. Truthfully, this an act of will to make myself remember and name these.

They aren’t in any order.

  1. My kids’ sense of humor. My kids are hilarious. All four of them. Sometimes they’re making fun of me and even then, I can step back and say, “Man, these kids are funny!” I’m truly grateful to have kids who make me laugh and with whom I can share a laugh. My twelve-year-old boy, increasingly sarcastic and fully embracing middle-school attitudes, sometimes catches me off guard with his wit and leaves me cracking up.
  2. My friendship with my mom. Mom and I enjoy each other much more than we did when I was a teenager or even a twenty-something. I know that’s true from my end and I’m going to take a chance and declare it true from her’s as well. We get each other now. We appreciate each other. I have an incredible mom and I appreciate her more all the time.
  3. Old friends who give me the grace to reconnect when I can. Dealing with my ups and downs, sometimes I check out for stretches of time. I don’t love that about myself, but sometimes I’m simply hanging in there, or just barely coping, and whipping myself for failing to keep up all my relationships does not actually make me all better. I know some people can’t swing with my…swings. But I have a circle of truly beautiful people who get me and those reconnections never have to begin with “Oh, my gosh, I’m sorry it’s been so long and I feel sooo bad…” I can’t tell you how grateful I am for those friends in my life.
  4. Music. Wow, am I appreciating music right now. If you’re not listening to your favorite music, or music that carries you, while you’re going through this stay-at-home life, I urge you to turn it on. I’m playing tons of Mumford and Sons, Lumineers, U2, and Great Big Sea.
  5. I’m inexpressibly grateful right now for the women and men who are providing health care and filling all the other roles that are directly taking on this virus and helping those suffering from it. Thank you for your courage and your compassion. I’m praying for you, every day. I’m sickened that anyone would criticize you as a group. You are my heroes.
  6. I’m grateful that people think of me when they are hurt or upset or need prayer. Sometimes it’s an overwhelming privilege (see #3), but I genuinely feel honored that folks call on me when they need support. It’s especially encouraging when we don’t see politics or even life the same but they know they can turn to me, anyway. This is one of the reasons I’m on this planet.
  7. As always, every day, I’m grateful for Kim. She’s amazing. This crisis has only proven that even more.
  8. It’s funny to say, because we were never meant to have cats in this house (long story involving having too many cats in Nicaragua–and yes, in our context, there was such a thing as “too many cats”), but during this shelter at home I’m truly grateful for our Mumford and Nicki, Taki (or Loop) and Sunshine. They’re not anxious. They’re not troubled. Pet therapy is a real thing.
  9. I’m grateful, as a small redemption in the midst of this tragic crisis, that I get extra time with Corin. We’ve enjoyed it. We’ve played games, watched movies (I won’t name them so you won’t judge me), run around together in a socially distanced way–throwing a disc, riding bikes, and pitching a baseball are all pretty ideal for this. We’ve even had some reading time together. And more movies.
  10. I don’t claim this crisis has done wonders for my faith, but I am definitely praying a lot for people I know who are infected, or on the front lines, or suffering the repercussions.
  11. I am grateful I can pray and know that God hears and always loves us.

Okay, for real now, make a list of ten things. You can share it in a comment or just have it for yourself. Do it. If you’ve taken the time to read this far, take the time to knock out a list. Trust me, it will do you good.

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