Shelter in Place. Stay at Home Order. Whatever you call it, many of us are quarantined now to our homes. Here in Ohio, everything "non-essential" has been shut down. Just one week ago we were out to dinner and trying to decide whether or not we should still go on our spring break. We opted to stay home, wisely. Since that time we have been at home, trying to make sense out of the new normal we are facing right now.
This is hard for so many. My "hard" is more of an inconvenience mixed with the anxieties perpetuated by the "what ifs" that keep me up at night. But for so many, this is a time of incredible hardship.
Love ones are sick and have died.
Jobs have been lost.
Children have lost their safe place to go during the day.
Families are wondering how they will get by if this extends much longer.
Students are trying to finish school, yet many districts are poor and the students don't have access to online schooling.
Our elder population are being quarantined, often alone with no family to be able to come visit.
Healthcare workers are running on fumes.
Our leaders are weighed down with the immense responsibility of trying to make the best decisions with the information they have today.
Retirement investments are tanking.
These are the definite struggles, and so many more.
Then there are the worries that keep me up at night, as I'm sure they do you.
What about my friend who has cancer? Will she be okay?
What about my sweet Yiya who is 92 and lives by herself. I don't want to infect her. But what if she gets ill? Will she be alone?
And my aunts and uncles and parents that are older?
Will my kids get through this online high school and college okay?
And of course (she said jokingly) will my marriage survive this work at home thing?
But in the midst of it all, I am learning to count my blessings. And friends, there are so many. What I took for granted, I am now praising God for. Here are a few:
Watching my children "entertain" themselves in ways that they haven't in years. My kids are older, 16,20 & 22. And I have seen them have so much fun together. They have put together puzzles, painted, played video games, baked, built zip lines (that don't work....yet), read, played games and we have had a lot of family movies and chill time.
My husband is able to work from home. So many of you do not have this and I know it is a great hardship. And with that, trying to find ways that we can help others. This blessing is not to be wasted.
A home. Seriously, I will catch myself complaining about the number of times I have to clean up my kitchen. What? You have shelter, food and a family to share it with.
Nature. One of the things I try to do every day, regardless of the weather (and Ohio weather is very fickle folks), is go outside for a walk. We have walking paths by my home and I am out on them daily breathing in the fresh air and admiring God's creation.
My faith. It is the foundation of my peace and how I live my life and it is bringing me so much comfort right now.
Pets. My pets are such a source of joy for my family. They are certainly spoiled, but the amount of cuddling and love they show us has definitely lifted everyone's spirits.
Government. I have been so impressed with how Governor DeWine and Dr Amy Acton have conducted themselves and lead us through this time. They are making difficult choices that the rest of us don't have to make.
Healthcare workers and first responders. They are on the front lines. I don't even comprehend what they are walking through and I probably never will. But I do know that they are giving up so much to care for those of us who are in the poorest of health.
Friends and family and technology. I love having my family gathered around me. It's a bit much at times, but being alone would make this time so much harder. And technology has enabled me to be in contact with friends and family that I don't live with. Zoom. Facebook. Facetime. Phone calls. They have all given me comfort in this difficult time.
I'm not naive. I understand the hardship and the hurt that this is having on our world right now. But I am not without hope and I truly am grateful for so much. We will get through this and we will come out the other side with a greater appreciation of so many things.
In the meantime, what are you grateful for today?