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Find joy, gratitude in the midst of this pandemic

Find joy, gratitude in the midst of this pandemic

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Pam Clifton

Pam Clifton

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns … chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger to a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates vision for tomorrow.”

Let American self-help author Melody Beattie’s words sink in. They’re quite profound when one thinks about what each phrase means.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” How many opportunities have we missed because we were too wrapped up in ourselves to deepen our relationship with a spouse, sibling, best friend or someone else?

“It turns what we have into enough, and more.” We could always have more, right? But we could also have less. Isn’t life about being happy and showing appreciation for what we already have?

“It turns … chaos to order, confusion to clarity.” These words certainly apply to the current world in which we live. Doesn’t it feel as if we are living in chaos? Aren’t we all dealing with chaos and confusion on a daily basis?

“It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger to a friend.” The people we love are the ones who gather with us to turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger to a friend. The people in our lives are what’s most important. We should remind these people of how important they are to us.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates vision for tomorrow.” These words could not be more perfect at this time. The world – and the impending holiday season – have drastically changed due to COVID-19. We’ve been forced to make changes due to the pandemic, and many are struggling to find reasons to be thankful.

Some have lost loved ones. Others have lost jobs. Changes at home have created stress for families. As Thanksgiving 2020 approaches, many simply don’t feel like celebrating.

But now is the time to pause and reflect on all of the blessings in our lives. While the coronavirus might have changed your plans and you’re no longer traveling to Grandma’s house to celebrate together on Thursday, remember that the holiday is about much more than piling your plate full of food.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to acknowledge all the wonderful people and things in our lives and focus on the positive. Appreciate your beautiful family, even if it’s from a distance. If your family function has been replaced by a phone call or Zoom meeting, make the most of it.

This Thanksgiving, Fredericktown resident Connie Cox is grateful that her husband Roger is still with her. In February, he had three stents put in his heart. As the pandemic began in the spring, Roger experienced problems with kidney stones. As a result, he had four surgeries and spent seven nights in the hospital over a four-month period.

“That was scary enough without COVID,” said Connie. “But God kept him safe. And this is why we stay home mostly, wear masks and do grocery pick-up.”

Connie expressed her desire for people to take the virus very seriously, especially for people who are at high-risk due to their health.

Despite Roger’s strained health, Connie insisted how she and Roger are grateful to be together and have much to celebrate.

“How much more thankful can we be?” she said.

Becky Gidden, a resident of Irondale, said she is grateful for her family, especially for her beautiful granddaughter, Harper, who will be 2 in May.

They plan to celebrate Thanksgiving on Wednesday so they can enjoy special time with their sweet granddaughter.

Stacy Simily, from Leadwood, said she is thankful to be able to celebrate another Thanksgiving with her grandmother.

Simily is thankful for her family and friends who have helped her get through some very difficult times.

“I will give thanks to God for all that I have and all that I am,” she said.

Tracy Merritt said she is very thankful for her family and happy she will be spending Thanksgiving with them.

“While the gathering may be smaller with not as much extended family,” said Merritt, “we will share gratitude and great food together.”

Bettie Whitworth, of Fredericktown, said she and her family will celebrate only with the members of their household. Although they will miss spending time with other family members, they are thankful they are all safe in their homes.

Annette Pinson, a resident of Park Hills, will experience this Thanksgiving in a very different way. Her sister Carolyn passed away in April. Now, her husband Mike is on a ventilator at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She and her family are facing very difficult decisions regarding Mike’s health.

“But no matter the circumstances, we are blessed,” said Pinson. “We will give thanks to God and we will be thankful for our family.”

She said she might not understand Mike’s situation, but she will not question God’s plan.

“I just thank God for the time we have had together,” she said. “We are blessed.”

On this Thanksgiving, remember to find reasons to celebrate and share gratitude for the people and things you have in your life. Consider Beattie’s words: “Gratitude … creates vision for tomorrow.”

Pam Clifton is a contributing writer for the Daily Journal

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