Looking back on the year 2020, I am trying to reflect on lessons God has been teaching me throughout the pandemic. Here is what I have so far:
1) All plans are tentative
2) Slow down
3) Touch with words
We have lost so many things during the pandemic. All of a sudden we couldn’t hang out with our friends, go to the movies, or attend sporting events. We lost the opportunity to visit loved ones in the hospital or have a proper funeral for those who died. We lost the chance to have graduation ceremonies, parties, or to eat at our favorite restaurant.
It got pretty easy to focus on all of our losses and get stuck in a constant state of grief. Then one day I heard a challenge from someone, “instead of focusing on what you have lost, why not focus on what you still have?”
This question got me thinking. Instead of grieving the fact there were no professional sports teams to watch, I could use that time to watch classic recorded games, like the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 World Series! Instead of focusing on not having the opportunity to take my wife on a date to our favorite restaurant, I could be thankful for the chance to get take-out food from that restaurant for a picnic. I could focus on all the cancelations of events from my overly busy calendar or choose to enjoy the extra time with my spouse and family.
Today was the first day of the spring semester at the school where I teach. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to teaching with all the mandated restrictions of mask-wearing, social distancing, etc. But then I shifted my thinking to focus on the blessing of being able to be in the same room with my students. I still have the opportunity of interacting with them in person, rather than meeting by Zoom.
We all have a choice as to what we focus on. Grieving loss is necessary, but if we aren’t careful, we can forget to be thankful for the things we still have.
Reflections: Think of something that you have lost due to the pandemic, then shift your thinking to give thanks for something that you still have.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18