“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31, King James Version

Thankful & Grateful: Lessons Learned Through a Pandemic.

I like to solicit ideas for posts from others. It gives me insight as to what is on the minds of others around me. While I have a list of ideas written in a notebook; various topics I want to tackle at some point, I am intrigued what others are thinking and what they may want to see me write about.

The topic for this post is actually combining two ideas into one post, since I think we can gain valuable lessons from the last couple of years. The ideas come from two friends of mine; one being my former boss while I worked at the Code Blue Emergency Shelter in Saratoga Springs, New York. Those friends are Melanie Covell and Cheryl Ann Murphy-Parant.

As a society, culture, people, and individuals, we have had a lot thrown at us in just two years. We endured loss and separation due to Covid, we grew accustomed to seeing family members through video-chat instead of gathering together in homes. We wore masks in public. Many of us really learned the true meaning of loneliness. Anxiety and depression rose, drug use and alcohol consumption increased, and mental health declined for many.

But there were some things that came out of the last two years, and which if it wasn’t for everything we tackled together, I feel would still be lost. Things like eating dinner together as a family, cancelling elaborate family vacations and instead spending more intimate and quality time together doing smaller things, and in many households, rediscovering family game night. We shopped local and supported small-businesses. We had our children home full-time and had the opportunity to be more engaged in their education and learning. We took walks as a family, and discussed things that mattered to each other. We learned what it means to be thankful for the smallest of things. Remember the great toilet paper shortage of 2021? We came out of the last two years thankful. We focused on the simpler things in life, and realized that life can change rapidly and without notice.

Thankful. Prior to the events that have occurred in the last twenty-four months or so, thankful was a word normally confined to the month of November. You don’t typically see social media posts or hear people say that they’re thankful for little things, except for around Thanksgiving. Then everyone is thankful.

Since I started this post and shared how I worked at the Code Blue Emergency Shelter, I’m reminded of some of the guests I had the privilege of working for. Yes, I worked for them, because for the colder months here in upstate New York, the shelter was their home and I was a guest in their home. I’m reminded of so many individuals and how thankful they were for a hot meal on a frigid cold night. I think of their faces when they were given a warm jacket or new gloves. I’m reminded how many of them would step up and help clean because they were thankful they had a place to sleep that night; a warm cot and blanket rather than a cold park bench or the stairs in a parking garage.

What are you thankful for today? What have you learned over the last two years? I pray we never have to endure some of the sorrow and separation that we seem to be past now, again in our lifetime. But I also pray that we take the lessons we learned and pass them on to the next generation.

2 responses to “Thankful & Grateful: Lessons Learned Through a Pandemic.”

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