2020 – What a Year
It’s been a hard year, hasn’t it? It’s not like any year we have yet experienced and hopefully not like any we will experience again. Now, it’s the week before Thanksgiving. I’m sure that when this pandemic started back in March, none of us anticipated we would still be in the midst of it eight months later. Surely, we thought, by the holidays COVID-19 would be a memory.
But, that’s not the way it happened, so we are challenged with celebrating a holiday where we give thanks when many of us are finding it difficult to find something, anything, for which to be thankful. There has been so much turmoil, suffering, uncertainty, and loss; it’s hard to know where to begin.
Some have suffered a great deal and others, not as much, but, I think, if we dig down far enough, we can find one or two things for which we can be thankful this year.
Thankfulness In Difficult Circumstances
In the book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom tells about an incident when her sister, Betsie prayed and thanked God for the fleas in the barracks of the concentration camp where they were imprisoned. Corrie couldn’t believe it, how could she thank God for fleas. Betsie reminded her that as followers of Christ, they were to give thanks in all circumstances, good or bad. They later learned that the German guards would not enter their barracks because of the fleas so they had a little more freedom to worship and study the Bible. I found that particular excerpt from The Hiding Place here if you would like to read it in its entirety.
I suppose if women in a concentration camp during World War II can find something for which to be thankful, surely I could find something in the midst of the pandemic.
I thought of three things.
A Successful Surgery
Three years ago, on a road trip to North Carolina, I experienced what I thought was a heart attack while we were staying in a hotel at a small town in South Carolina. I had never felt such excruciating pain. I became violently ill. A couple of hours later, the feeling went away. I spent the next couple of years visiting doctors and being tested to see what was causing the terrible pain. It was very sporadic but always after I ate. Sometimes I would have one of these episodes two or three days in a row and sometimes several months would pass. I experienced a great deal of anxiety every time I ate, wondering if I would experience that pain again.
At the beginning of this year, my doctor determined that my hiatal hernia was in serious need of repair. I had the surgery in March, right before everything shut down with the pandemic. It was a little nerve-wracking but it turned out to be a good decision. The timing was perfect to lay low and recover from surgery and I am thankful to say I have not experienced that horrible pain since my surgery.
Last fall, about this time, my husband and I signed up to get a puppy. We decided that one year without a dog was enough and we were ready to be dog owners again. I wrote about it here.
To be honest, the first couple of months were hard; newborn baby hard. Boone barked during the night and decided that 5:00 in the morning was a perfectly good time to start the day. There were moments we questioned our decision.
To me, the best thing about having a puppy is that it gave me a purpose and a routine. Especially, in those early days of the pandemic when everything was literally shut down. He’s been with us seven months and we have an order to our lives. One of the unexpected benefits is that it has created a completely new habit for us. Before Boone, we would stay up until 11:30 or 12:00 or even later. We quickly learned that we needed to get to bed earlier if our pup was going to be waking us up at 5 a.m. Now we have trouble staying awake much past 10:30. It makes for a much more productive day.
I’m thankful for my home and for how the pandemic has altered the way I view my home. In the past, I didn’t really enjoy being at home. I would often spend hours running errands or finding things to do away from home, especially during the year we didn’t have a dog. Home was a stark reminder of my empty nest and how much I missed my kids. In some ways, it has been kind of nice being told to stay home. Of course, I don’t have children I’m having to homeschool. And, it does help being an introvert.
I’m finding that I enjoy the quietness of my home. I’m caught up on my annual read through the Bible and I’ve completed a few big projects. After Christmas, I’m going to flip a couple of rooms which should be fun. I enjoy working on crafts but my craft room is upstairs and not easy for my ever-faithful companion to follow me. Meanwhile, downstairs, we have a formal living room that we never use, not even for Christmas. I plan on switching the two rooms so I can get to my crafting easier and more often. Sounds like a good blog post.
Just like most of the country, Thanksgiving will be different this year. I won’t be spending the holiday with my children but I don’t always anyway. It will just be me, my husband, my parents and a cousin eating at our golf club. I think it will only be the third time I haven’t had a home-cooked Thanksgiving feast. We’ll miss the leftovers but the preparation and cleanup will be a breeze. See — always something to be thankful for.
How about you? Can you think of something you are thankful for, even in this difficult year? Have you altered your Thanksgiving traditions this year due to the pandemic? I would love to hear.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!