This blog post is part of a four-part series where our team shares how they’re finding gratitude in 2020. If you’d like to read part one, you can do so here.
In September, my pastor gave a sermon about our perception of time, and one thing that struck with me is our tendency to view the past with either rose-colored glasses or regret and viewing the future with anticipation. In both scenarios, we’re wasting the current moment. It’s especially easy to long for the past and the future in a year like 2020. But this year, I’ve come to remember that each year before 2019 had hardship and joy, and every year from 2021 forward will include much of the same. I’m learning to find contentment in our current circumstance and seek out things that make me happy. From spending time at home with my husband and dog to taking daily walks in my neighborhood, I’ve come to appreciate this time in my life and my place in the world.
For me, 2020 was a special kind of awful. I’m a pretty major extrovert, and so is my oldest daughter. Shutdowns were not kind to us. On top of that, 2020 brought me Hurricane Laura, which devastated my city. Two weeks after that, my grandmother died. It’s safe to say being thankful is a challenge right now. But honestly, I am. I’m thankful for the chance to spend more purposeful time with my three children. I’m thankful that, when we had our third this summer and were suddenly on zone defense with the kids, my husband was home instead of having to be out with clients several nights a week like he was pre-pandemic. I’m thankful that, in the strangest possible way, a hurricane evacuation allowed my grandmother out of her assisted living facility for the first time in six months…and she spent the last two weeks of her life with her family. I’m thankful for friends who, 11 years out of college, reached out to me. One in Texas took my family in when we evacuated for the hurricane. One in Baton Rouge housed my family in her vacant home while it was for sale. Of course, 2020 isn’t the year I’d have chosen for myself, but it’s been full of more blessings in disguise than I could have imagined, and it’s brought me a sense of perspective that I hope lasts the rest of my life
I am a big planner and have a strong dislike for uncertainty, so 2020 is definitely getting coal from me for Christmas. It has, however, shown me the benefit of slowing down. If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me to do just that in my life, I would…not be writing this snippet right now because I would be bronzing on my tropical island. My calendar was packed with extracurriculars pre-pandemic. I was going to board meetings, grabbing dinner here, grabbing a drink there, volunteering in the community. While all those activities are great, I was exhausted in every sense of the word. At the end of each day, I felt like I had nothing left to give to the things that matter most – faith, family and close friends. Although I am deeply saddened to see so much suffering happening in our world, I am grateful for the slowdown this season has provided.