You may be a little confused about the title of this post. Thankful? How can we be thankful for a deadly virus that has infected the world and is taking the lives of so many? How can we be thankful for the mass disruption of our lives? People have lost their jobs. Kids are not in school. Parks, gyms, restaurants and salons have closed. Sporting events have ceased and the summer Olympics are now postponed. How can we be thankful?
It’s easy. We must remember –
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJB)
We have become a society that is used to getting whatever we want almost immediately. We are a “same day delivery” culture and now that we have to wait for things and not get our overpriced coffee or enjoy our favorite restaurant cuisine, we are getting grumpy. We are used to immediate gratification in so many things. Want to watch a movie? Get it on Netflix. Out of dog food and Cheese Its? Get them delivered tomorrow from Amazon Prime.
This pandemic is horrible but it could be way worse – think Anne Frank and Laura Ingalls Wilder, two of my personal favorites that we can all learn from.
Anne Frank. I would hope all of you know who she was, but just in case you do not, she was one of the many unfortunate victims of Adolph Hitler and the Holocaust.
She and her family went into hiding in an attic with seven other people for 25 months. 25 months IN AN ATTIC! They had to be quiet during the day, were forbidden to go outside and endured a great deal of turmoil and tension between the inhabitants, not to mention the daily terror and fear of being caught and sent to a concentration camp (which eventually happened). They had to wait until food was brought to them and there was not much to do to occupy their time in seclusion other than read, write, talk, sleep and daydream. Her diary is still in print. Get it and read it! Or, if you had to read it in 8th grade, reread it as an adult. It is a whole new perspective.
WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL! We, including our children, have plenty of things, especially technology, to keep us occupied during our shelter in place. We have television, the internet, our phones, etc. This leads to a myriad of activities we can do to keep us from going stir-crazy. We can exercise, play board games, card games, video games or games on our phones. We can grab a cookbook and cook a new meal or go on youtube and learn a new skill or craft. We can have games, books, puzzles, toys, clothes, food and many other things sent to us from Amazon, Walmart, Target and the like, though they may take a few days to get delivered right now. Be thankful we have these opportunities to keep us busy and our minds active. Anne Frank and her family did not. Nor do many others in isolation around the world.
Also, think about Laura Ingalls Wilder and other pioneer and Native American families who endured The Long Winter of 1880 and 1881 in DeSmet, South Dakota. (If you have a little extra time, read The Long Winter, it is one of her most popular books!) There was a blizzard every three to four days from October to May. They and other families went through their winter reserves rather quickly and although the Ingalls family was living in town (not on the prairie) the trains could not get through the 12+ feet of snow that had fallen. They were soon starving without much to burn for heat, not to mention limited with activities to pass the time.
WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL! We are not in the dead of winter, though some of our fellow Americans are suffering from terrible weather (my thoughts and prayers are with you). We are allowed outside (six feet apart, but we can leave our homes!)
We have indoor plumbing so we can go to the bathroom without freezing!
We can keep in touch with our friends and families via texting, phone calls and video conferencing. Back then, people did not know if their children, parents and neighbors were okay or even alive!
Many of our children are still being taught online (thank your child’s teachers for all of the extra work they are putting in planning quality lessons!) Schools were closed for months during that long, snowy winter.
In addition, we have heat, we have food and we can get our food and supplies delivered (though it is taking much longer now). We can run to the store if needed. We can pick our food up curbside. Natives and pioneer families did not have that luxury.
Finally, we should be thankful that we have what so many of us lacked before – extra time! While many, like my husband seem to be working MORE hours, a lot of us now have those precious extra hours in a day. So many of us have said, ” I don’t have time to…” Well, now you do! Try something new. Here is a quick list of ideas for adults and children:
- Exercise – many of us are turning to comfort foods during this time and may put on some extra pounds. Try a new workout online or download one of the many fitness apps out there. There are also great workouts on Pinterest and Youtube. Two of my favorite workouts on Youtube – HASFit and Heather Robertson. Both will get your hearts pumping and put a smile on your face at the end! Exercise is such a great way to relieve stress! And kids will enjoy it as well!
- Walk your dog several times a day. It gets you out and moving and your four-legged friend will love it!
- Take inventory of your fridge and freezer and meal prep. Chop those veggies, make the soup you only had time for on Sundays, plan your meals for the week. Try a new recipe. Include the kids! Depending on their ages, let them plan a meal one or two nights a week. Don’t forget baking a healthy dessert! Or even a not-so-healty one!
- Go on Youtube and learn how to do almost anything! Draw, paint, crochet, knit, change a tire, sculpt…you name it!
- Clean, organize, and figure out what you do not use, like or need and donate it to those less fortunate. Many organizations will come right to do your door to get your donations. My personal favorite – http://www.purpleheartpickup.org
- Read a book or one of the many magazines you may have stacked on a shelf.
- Write a poem, a song, a novel, a short story, anything to get your thoughts on paper.
- Teach your dog a new trick. Pets are loving having everyone home with them!
- Start a gratitude journal and list all of the good things that are happening in your life and in your homes.
- Relax and veg out with your favorite shows. It’s okay to do that too!
We need to be thankful in these trying times. I know it is not easy. I know it is tough being cooped up at home, especially for those with a big family in small quarters, but IT IS TEMPORARY. It will not last forever. We are so used to having things immediately gratify us, that it is tough to be patient and make these changes. However, to truly triumph over all of this, we need to make the best of it and be thankful for our health, the time we have together and all of the many opportunities we have to keep our brains and bodies active.
We are a part of history. We will look back one day and tell our children and grandchildren all about the time the entire world shut down trying to fight this horrible illness. We will tell them how most businesses closed. How there were no sporting events or shows in theaters or concerts. But I hope and pray that those conversations will be dominated by the things we did, made, learned and created while we were home.
I pray for all of you who are reading this to stay safe and healthy. I hope that you have a grateful heart and stay positive. Never lose hope. Never lose faith and never forget to be thankful.