By Kelly Wright
When life and the world starting locking down in March, I felt two main feelings: fear and gratitude. Gratitude was a surprising feeling to have in the midst of the world falling apart, but in my world, my family of four was able to be home together. We had puzzles to work on and movies to watch, plenty of food to eat, and an ample supply of toilet paper. It actually felt like an extended winter break for a while. We could sleep in, stay in pajamas all day, and do whatever we wanted! But after a few days of what felt like snow days without snow, I started to get restless. Hearing reports of how dangerous this virus was and not being able to go about my daily life, I quickly succumbed to what I called, “Coronavirus Funk.” I felt lethargic, grouchy, and stifled. Additionally, I felt these feelings in my body, which often led to my questioning if I was actually getting sick or was I just sick of the lockdown after the first week?
Realizing this situation was not going to turn around quickly, I decided to get super intentional about what I call “daily deposits.” These deposits were physical, emotional, and spiritual ways of pouring into myself daily in order to keep my spirits and endurance high. A major deposit was creating an awareness of what I was grateful for every day and jotting those things down in my journal.
In my former profession as a therapist, I was often intrigued with the studies on gratitude and how being thankful does so much good for our bodies, minds, and hearts. But even though these studies make the practices of gratitude a no-brainer, the key factor is being actively intentional to practice gratitude. Like so many other great practices that enhance our lives, if you don’t use it, you lose it. It was this daily decision to be intentional about practicing gratitude and other daily deposits that I am most grateful for as I look back over 2020.
Early on in my practice of gratitude, I began taking pictures which I called my “Corona Chronicles.” As I reflect on these pictures today, I find myself so grateful for the variety of experiences this year has brought. Experiences such as:
The day I was walking and it started raining. My hangout time with friends on zoom. Virtual church. Putting stuffed bears in our front windows for neighborhood kids to “go on a bear hunt.” Coloring. Fixing up our deck and sitting in the sun. Online grocery shopping. Growing tomatoes. Leading a virtual retreat. Getting creative with connecting with extended family. Trying new recipes. Daily walks and daily journaling what I’m grateful for. Easing into the day with extended time of praying and reading my Bible.
All of these little things became huge life preservers during this crazy, chaotic year.
A few weeks ago I added a couple of photos that weren’t the typical “bright spot in a dark time” entry in my Corona Chronicles. My son tested positive for Covid, which happened to be the same week of the election and my first day at a new job. Even in the midst of concern for his health and well-being as well as our country’s unrest, I found small places of gratitude. It was those moments of gratitude which anchored me as I was fearful and overwhelmed.
Today I look at the picture of a plate of food on the bottom basement stair and I am grateful we were able to keep him isolated at home. That picture will be a needful reminder that even in the midst of difficult circumstances, there are moments for which to be grateful. May you find those meaningful moments this Thanksgiving and may they anchor you with hope and peace.