There's no doubt about it: 2020 has, hands down, probably been the hardest, most trying year for a majority of people around the world. Have there been worse years? Well, probably, sure — but the number doubtless pales in comparison to the worldwide suffering that's taken place over the last eight or nine months.
As a wise literary character once said, however, "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."
Now more than ever, it's important — especially in the most dire of times — to search for perspective and peace amid the chaos.
HD Dumbledore's "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times.." clip www.youtube.com
Here are 10 things in 2020 for which I'm most thankful:
- Rest and relaxation. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken much from us, it has also given us the opportunity to slow down, take a breath, and enter a place of quietude from which we can focus on things that really matter or help rediscover things that matter most.
- Insight on those in my inner circle. It's a hard lesson to learn sometimes, but sometimes those who we believe are closest to us fall by the wayside in times of trouble. This was that time of trouble, and it was also that hard lesson. But like anything else, we learn, and we move on.
- A forced perspective on the present. Many of us — myself included — often take minutes, hours, days, or even years for granted while we look ahead saying, "Better days are sure to come." While better days are always sure to come one way or another, living amid this pandemic makes you realize that those days are uncertain, and living in the now is one of the greatest gifts of all.
- Health and security at home. I've been fortunate enough to be able to work from home and exercise the option to homeschool my children during the pandemic. While they sometimes get antsy and yearn for a return to normalcy, they are healthy and thriving, and I am, too.
- The daily reminder to take nothing for granted. When there's nothing but anarchy and turmoil surrounding many of the big things in our lives, we can begin to savor and appreciate small things: a quiet walk in the woods, a hot cup of tea, or how warm your dog's ears are as you pet them.
- Human kindness and patience really matter. In a time where many people are stretched to their limits, grace, understanding, and patience are perhaps the most valuable currency.
- Shying away from disposable commodities. While at home, many of us have learned new skills or refined necessary ones such as cooking, sewing, being responsible for creating our own arts and entertainment, and more. When the pandemic does come to a conclusion, we'll emerge stronger, more resilient, and better equipped to face the next era than we ever were before. That means being more self-reliant and avoiding a disposable, single-use way of life.
- A vast appreciation for teachers, medical professionals, and first responders. While many of us were able to hunker down, carefully plan out our grocery deliveries, and wait this thing out, many "regular" men and women stepped forward to the front lines to protect us. As we as a culture often idolize celebrities, entertainers, sports figures, and politicians, it was a welcome reality check for many to see who the "essential workers" really are — and they're not the ones some might think. Teachers, medical professionals, and first responders are the real heroes in all of this.
- God's perfect plan and timing. While it may seem that things are crumbling around us on a daily basis, God's providence will never fail, and so long as we remain rooted in His word and His promises, nothing is ever really an ending.
- This video. Above all else, let us come together and really laugh at each other — and ourselves. Let's stop taking many things so personally and so seriously. Happy Thanksgiving.
cat vibing to street drummer (remix) ft. Donald Trump and Joe Biden www.youtube.com