Everyone is singing the song that 2020 has eaten its cake and left us with nothing. I had nothing once... nothing but the clothes on my back! Okay, not just the clothes on my back... I also had some clothes in a bag in our van. We were fortunate enough to be able to wash them from time to time at a local church. Have you ever been homeless before? It was 2008, the recession hit and all of the sudden we were in a season of need... I won't continue with my life story, because it doesn't matter what state I was in. The point is, I had to find something to be thankful for and that is what kept me going. I saw the raw and warm sides of humanity as the economy tanked in 2008 and many people were without jobs. Some were hateful, rude, and vengeful as a reaction to the circumstances and consequences of an imperfect system... yet, many others opened their homes; gave to the less fortunate; fed the families of friends and acquaintances, and donated to foundations and shelters for the poor -- I was thankful for the latter!
Regardless of the repercussions of human behavior there was too much good to consider! Remember, good is not measured in weight. It is the downfall of our exacting nature that makes us so judgmental of the world around leading us to believe that the good must "outweigh" the bad before it is considered significant. I can speak from experience. Even the low measure of faith, hope, and kindness that I experienced in this time made up for all the bad, all around. It doesn't take a great measure of benevolence, or love, or grace to transform a situation from bad to good.
Think of it like this - once something is good... is it still bad?... Exactly
What am I trying to tell you?... Keep reading. Wealth - a word that we so commonly misconstrue as pertaining to the greatest amounts of money one can produce fiscally...
Wealth is actually derived from the Old English word... yep, you guessed it... "Well" as in "Well-being." The most popularized use of the term in Old English was in the context of one's health - "Good Health" that is. There are other uses in the Old English such as to Wel or to Weal, which means to give birth.
So one might say that in times of community, health, child-bearing, (or even child-rearing) that we are experiencing "Wealth" in the purest sense of the word.
No matter what season you're facing, there is always something to be grateful for. You must find it for your own health. Indiana University School of Medicine says, "Current events are unfolding at breakneck speed, leaving people dazed in the wake of a rapidly-spreading global pandemic that’s waging war on our communities... People have to learn to adapt in the face of adversity and find ways to remain grounded... expressing gratitude can improve a person’s well being as well as their relationships with others... (it is) a small act that can make a big impact on a person’s overall mood and perspective." The Institute for Family Studies says that marital relationships are improving sexually and emotionally across the nation; The National Institute of Health states that 82.4% grade students have lower anxiety levels in 2020; racial injustices are being confronted; humanity is upholding a standard of togetherness to defeat a common enemy in Corona Virus. We must recognize that there is much more being achieved by humanity even amidst the political, medical, and economical crises that we face.
Emmy Schram of Communications in Emergency Medical at Indiana University quotes Harvard Medical, "Taking time to acknowledge the goodness in life is important during times of crisis as it allows a person to shift their perspective, calm fear and anxiety, and maintain a positive outlook in an uncertain situation. In addition, …people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals—whether to other people, nature, or a higher power."
So, as you sit around the Thanksgiving table, or on a Zoom/FaceTime meeting with friends and family, take a moment and think deeply about what you ARE thankful for. Politicians can ruin your dinner plans, but they can't cancel Thanksgiving because thanksgiving is in your heart.
Instead of giving so much credit to disappointments, inform your expectations and realign your perspective - be thankful.