Most of us will be glad when 2020 is over. We have all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether we or a loved one has contracted the virus or not.
I look forward to a new year, hoping that things will be better.
During times of stress we struggle to find why we should be thankful. In 2006 we had a devastating death in our family. When I shared the news via email with a friend who lived far away, she expressed her condolences and included an e-book about gratitude. I really didn’t understand how she would think that I would be grateful about anything right then.
Later, and many times since, I have been able to see all the things that our family could be thankful for. We have four adult grandchildren who are doing well and two active, energetic great-grandchildren who bring joy to our lives.
I am filled with gratitude today. I’m thankful when we get a much-needed thundershower with some nice, soaking rain. As dry as it’s been, we could still use some more rain, but I am very thankful for what we got.
As I look around at the blue sky, I am reminded that good times will follow the tough times, even if we don’t believe it at the time.
We are about to enter the holiday season that includes Thanksgiving. This time of feasting with family helps us focus on our many blessings. Some things are small like having all the socks in the laundry match up. Others are much bigger, as when a new baby has joined the family.
This year, we need to find many of those small things that happen daily to celebrate.
How did your crops do? Are your children healthy? Have you recently been able to visit with a loved one that you haven’t seen for a while? Have the local schools reopened? Do you feel safe?
Did you visit with a neighbor while shopping at the farmers market?
For me, autumn is the time of vivid colors, cooler temperatures, pumpkins, apples and home-baked treats. These things may not be super important, but they are all things I’m thankful for.
As if agriculture wasn’t stressful enough, along comes the pandemic. The turmoil that was caused when nearly everything was shut down is not a memory I want to think about.
It is important to keep in mind that none of this is your fault. Everyone around you is dealing with the additional stress. The world will probably never be as it was a year ago.
We need to move on. We need to figure out what is the right thing to do for ourselves and our families.
Be willing to seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed. There are people and organizations that will help you and your family. It is OK to seek help to learn new strategies to cope with problems and situations that you have never had to deal with before.
Be willing to talk about how you feel. You may be surprised to learn that others feel the same way that you do.
Be sure to find those things that you can be thankful for and celebrate them.
This fall, have an “attitude of gratitude.” It will help you through these tough times.
Gregg writes from western Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania 2019 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture and a past president of American Agri-Women.