Six things to be thankful for in the midst of a pandemic
Twenty-five years from now, what will be the most important memory of our students' high school years? For many, I’m guessing that "surviving a 100-year pandemic" will be one of the most significant.
The coronavirus pandemic has already affected all of us in varying ways and to differing degrees. Aside from the obvious cancellations, postponements, and shifts to online and/or remote learning, this once in a lifetime event has had ripple effects on many different aspects of our lives — mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s at times like this that we discover what really matters in life.
The Thanksgiving season has always been a reminder to me that no matter what challenges I am facing in my life, there are always things that I can find to be grateful for. In every challenge (including coronavirus), there is always a silver lining that we may not clearly see until it is in the rear-view-mirror of our life. It is often in gratitude that we find the much-needed perspective on what is most important in life. As St. Paul says Colossians 3:15, “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful."
In this spirit, I share six things that I am grateful for, and challenge you to find some of your own!
During this pandemic, I have been reminded just how important my family is and how much I need them! We spent much of the lockdown in the spring playing games, sharing bonfires, and enjoying the great outdoors together. I know that when everything else is stripped away, the one constant in my life is a family who loves and cares for one another. I hope your experience of family is the same.
I have appreciated the friends I have that have made an extra effort to connect with me, whether by phone, a Zoom meeting, or a walk in the park. While communicating with friends online is important — hopefully you’ve begun to cherish even more the time you get to spend with people face-to-face!
The Body of Christ
During the pandemic, even churches were shut down for awhile! Like many other Catholics, my family participated in ‘online’ mass for several months until our parish began in-person masses again at the end of May. While we enjoyed some great homilies in the online masses, I really missed the Eucharist and fellow members of the body of Christ sitting next to me in the pews. For the body of Christ in its different forms, I am grateful!
The amazing technology we have access to has enabled us to continue online instruction and communicate with relatives in hospitals and nursing facilities. People who know me well know that I have never been a ‘first adopter’ of technology. However, I am very grateful for the connections it has enabled me to have with my loved ones. How about you?
This summer, my family and I participated in the MetroParks Challenge which introduced us to hiking, biking, and kayaking trails throughout our beautiful Dayton area MetroParks. The beauty of God’s creation has a healing power to it. It encourages recreation, reflection, and prayer. For God’s gift of nature, I’m eternally grateful!
The pandemic has shined an important light on medical and emergency professionals who heroically serve others each day and who exercise the ministry of healing and comfort to those who are sick. I can say the same about the scientists who are amazingly on the cusp of a vaccine in less than a year from the time COVID-19 first appeared. It is a reminder of how much good humans can do when they use their God-given gifts for a purpose beyond themselves. For this, I’m grateful. Hopefully this awareness will inspire many of you to consider a calling to one of these fields.
While we all share a hope that things will be back to ‘normal’ very soon, I pray that this shared experience we’ve all had will help us to grow in the virtues of faith, hope, love, and gratitude!