Prior to social distancing at home, I had been keeping a daily gratitude journal. It was birthed in May of 2019 and except for a few weeks where it became a weekly gratitude journal, I’ve kept it up.
Now, as my isolationism runs steady, it’s important to continue – to find gratitude for what I have rather than what I do not have. So, I am going to share my top ten thoughts of gratitude from the past month.
- Organic peanut butter protein bar. I know, this may seem a silly start, but the bars have been part of a morning sustenance plan. I tend to be up before Natasha and start work by 7 am. I have a cup of tea, eat a protein bar and wait a couple hours before heading back out to the kitchen for chicken sausage links and half of a sweet potato. Or sausage links and a waffle. Or eggs and a waffle. Or whatever sounds good and keeps me going until lunch.
- Online church services, ladies’ life group and You-Know-Who. Perhaps this should be a general “technology” category simply because we are doing so much via the internet these days – from work Zoom meetings, to sing-alongs, to virtual proms and more. However, this gains special attention because it’s something that I sorely miss in person. I miss the smiles/hugs/laughs of the community, the worship music, and the words of faith and wisdom from the pastors. Until we are back together again, I have to say a big “thank you” for the technology of an online service and Facebook video chats for keeping us together. And, of course, two thumbs up to my God, who gives me faith, determination and resolve through these safer-at-home days.
- Sleeping in, sort of. Do you consider getting up at 6:00 am sleeping in? Many would not unless, like me, you were used to getting up at 5:10 am every day to make yourself presentable for work, put on work clothes and drive to the office. Well, kids, since my office is about four or five steps from the bed, I no longer need that extra 50 minutes for prep work. These days it’s brush my hair, put on a little face moisturizer, put on those stretchy pants and fire up the computer. Easy peasy.
- The sounds of outdoors. In place of watching the sun rise on the way to work, I get to listen to the song of the morning birds outside the windows. They make the furry co-workers a little crazy, but that’s their job. Unlike the regular office, this new bedroom office has two windows that open to the outside. I can hear the geese and sandhill cranes in the distance, the beeping of trucks over at Costco, voices of the neighbors when they spend time outside, and lawn mowing equipment as the grass is now green and growing. Sometimes I have to shut a window due to too much noise, but most often, it’s simply pleasurable.
- The chiropractor. I’ve seen him once since social distancing started, but am grateful that this has been an essential business from the start. With ongoing back issues, I need him, especially since I will not be able to see the massage therapist guy until May. I am grateful that he can keep me straightened out physically for the duration.
- Online shopping and curbside pick-up. I have never, in my life, spent this much time or money in online shopping. But thank God it is available because it beats the heck out of entering and moving around the actual grocery store with hundreds of my neighbors, some of whom still refuse to wear face masks or stay six feet away from me. When I need items that require refrigeration or a freezer, a local organic/health food grocer provides curbside pick-up. Hallelujah! While there are those that want to actually be in the store to see what they are buying and for an opportunity to be somewhere other than home, I still get the heebie jeebies thinking about shopping at the local mega grocery store. I will be happy to stay away for a few more weeks.
- The cleaning lady. Our Lady of Sanitation will not be showing up until it’s safe for all of us, which means that Natasha and I have grumbled a bit about spending a Saturday morning scrubbing floors and toilets, vacuuming, dusting, etc. Yeah, I know, some of you are yelling LAZY!, but Our Lady has been the busy-schedule savior for years. We are spoiled, so our special gratitude goes out to the many weeks we would trot off to work and come home to a freshly sanitized dwelling. Thank you Our Lady of Sanitation!
- Exercise. Days and days and days at home mean Natasha and I have to find things to do to keep our sanity. Exercise is one of those things. Natasha sets an hourly timer during the week to get up from her home office and go for a 10-15 minute walk. She says her legs feel stronger because of it. For myself, I make myself go for a walk at lunch (as long as it’s not raining) and go for bike rides or practice yoga after work. During the first two weeks of working from home, exercise was sporadic. With Natasha’s urging and my body wagging its finger at me, I’ve become more regular in the past week and intend to continue. It’s for my own good!
- Television, streaming services, social media and books. These are my sanity assistants: Star Trek on Netflix; NCIS and NCIS LA on CBS All Access; yoga and virtual choirs on YouTube; music via Pandora; very old westerns, travelogues and news on TV; funny memes and videos on Facebook; Mary’s pile of reading material. At night or during the day, it all provides warmth, escapism, connection, laughter, information and a feeling that at least these things are a constant. Although technology can have a very dark side, it’s been a saving grace to all of us staying at home.
- The nurses, doctors, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, food bank volunteers and anyone else working on the front lines of a pandemic. Need I say more? What would we do without these people – the ones who care for the sick, who keep us fed, who deliver our packages when in-store shopping is out of the question, and who stand for hours helping to feed the homeless and jobless? Natasha calls them “sheep dogs,” our saviors, the souls that give of themselves, rock stars. When you cross their paths, please tell them thank you for they put themselves at risk of becoming ill every day.
There you have it. The gratitude I have today. There are additional items, like having a job, a hot shower, two furry co-workers, face masks and a bleachy spray, dark chocolate, a bed and pillow, a roof over my head, and Excedrin for a Sunday morning headache. I am truly appreciative for all I have and pray that citizens of this country and of the world, will not have to suffer for a heartbreaking extent before this epidemic is over and we can move on with the next chapter of our lives.
Dear friends, what are you grateful for today? This past week or month? What do you have planned in the days to come to weather the continued social distancing?