Often in times of trouble we are so overwhelmed by our circumstances that we begin to lose our perspective. We become unable to see anything to be grateful for and often lose our capacity to appreciate the incredible resiliency we possess, as a people to stand on the ground where we now Stand. We cannot deny that, right now, we are standing on shaky ground. However, in these monumental times of public dissonance and distrust, in these times of tremendous loss and agony, we must never forget that while we are definitely not where we need to be, we are undeniably NOT where we’ve always been either. Sometimes we get so lost in the struggle itself, that we forget to be grateful for what we have accomplished, and the shoulders upon which we stand.
The expanding COVID pandemic and this “new” racial reckoning has caused all of us to stop and re-evaluate the things that are important to us and to distinguish them from the things that have just been distractions or even a waste of time. Relationships and family have taken on much more significance as we are unable to hug our loved ones or spend quality time with our closest friends for fear of spreading the virus that could possibly make them sick or even kill them. Even as we see mass suffering and loss of life, loss of employment, loss of the freedom to go and come as we please, we must also begin to take the time to cultivate an appreciation for what we do have instead of dwelling on what we are missing.
We are all fatigued and disheartened by still living with the anxiety and fear produced by the current state of our nation many months after we were told it would be over by now and back to “normal.” We are tired of not being able to be in the company of friends and family and fed up with the “virtual reality” of our lives. The extraordinary amount of time we are all spending on electronic devices and Zoom calls has been “played out” months ago. And, yet, in order to maintain our hope and psychological and mental health, we must develop strategic ways to wake up each day with an ability to move forward. What is it that we can be grateful for as we begin each new day?
The gift of laughter, the joy of family and the power of love are always potent things to contemplate as we consider the day before us. The beauty of nature as we look at the colors of the sky, feel the wind in the trees, smell the flowers, and listen to the song of the birds or the rippling sounds of water flowing over the rocks in the streams, creeks and rivers. There’s hope in the rising of the sun that brings the dawn of each new day. No matter what is going on around us, we must cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the life we have to live. We must find what we can appreciate in our life even in the midst of the current trials and tribulations that we are all experiencing.
How can we help someone else or bring cheer into someone else’s life? Sometimes looking beyond your own troubles to lend a hand or help someone else is an effective way to increase your joy. Standing in the glow of the gratitude of a friend or a neighbor warms our heart and brings a smile to our face while distracting us from looking at the circumstances that brought us to this point. It allows us to focus on the potency of human relationships and the power of simple acts of love and kindness.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” said Dr. Maya Angelou.
Simple acts of kindness bring joy to people’s hearts. No matter what… we must learn to recognize how important we are to one another. No matter what…let us find something that we can be grateful for because life is indeed too short. A smile really can warm your heart and in these perilous times… we need to embrace our common humanity. What can we do to make someone else feel better?