Even in a Pandemic

For all this year 2020 has been, I can honestly say it hasn’t been the worst year of my life.

For sure, situations, unexpected situations I might add, have arisen, but while I would classify 2020 as uncomfortable and unpredictable, I would not classify it as horrific for me personally.  Here are some things of which I remind myself, almost daily: 

  • As of the time of this writing, over 330,000 people in the United States have lost their life due to Covid-19.  I have not.
  • As of the time of this writing over 330,000 families in the United States have lost someone who was incredibly near and dear to them as a result of the pandemic.  By God’s grace, I have not.
  • I am not a front line health care worker, who day in and day out deals with heartbreak, death, and stress, the likes of which I can’t fathom.
  • My family’s jobs have held in this economy . . . all four of them.  Honestly, I feel guilty.  
  • My family has not had to deal with food insecurity at any point.  Again, I feel guilty.
  • Although I haven’t seen much of them in person, I have a support system of family and friends who are second to none.

I’ll stop the list there but I could continue, and I’m not silly; although incredibly undeserving, I am among the blessed.

While my in-person 5th grade class has certainly taken a recent hit with quarantining, I was discussing gratitude with the remaining fourteen students, right before Thanksgiving.  My daily attendance questions are often designed to promote self-reflection, and I was encouraging the people to aim for an attitude of thanks and gratitude rather than an attitude of self-pity and anger as we wrap up this year.  I am truly sorry for those of you who don’t get to daily hear the thoughts of the next generation. I am certain it would give you hope. The 10 and 11-year olds batted the topic around for awhile, taking a fairly big-picture world view of how blessed they truly are, and then somebody laid down this gem:

“You know what, Mrs. Jagger?  It seems like the people who don’t have as much to be thankful for are the people who are the most thankful, and the people who have so much to be thankful for are the ones who complain the most!”

Their teacher’s response? “You.  Are.  Right.  You are right, honey, and it doesn’t make sense, but I’m so proud of you for realizing that truth because even many adults don’t realize it!”

Have you heard any of this this year?

  • “I am so tired of this!”  (I would offer we are all tired of this; you are not alone).
  • “Nobody can tell me what to do!”  (I would offer that the world always runs a bit smoother when rules are followed).
  • “But my son has to play basketball (or fill in whatever activity you’d like to choose) . . . he’s worked so hard!”  (I would offer that other young people in this world have also worked hard and lost an activity near and dear to them. Or in some cases, lost the ability to do that activity they love permanently).
  • “If you have enough faith, God will protect you.”  (I would offer the Bible specifically references time after time where the followers of God experienced continual difficulties and strife, yet their faith in Him remained intact).

So if you are in that category with me, the category where there’s still a year or two in your life which has been worse than this one, or if even this has truly been your worst year, I invite you to reflect.  We have much for which to be grateful.  May we live as a people who have reason to be thankful rather than a people who continually grumble.  I guarantee, the next generation is watching and listening . . . and deciding who they want to be . . . and who they do not.  

Even in a pandemic.

Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.  

Today’s blog is in loving memory of the man who taught me to love to write: my teacher, my director, my colleague, my encourager, my friend, my equally loud laughing buddy, and my hero, Mr. Harold Norman. In his honor, I will continue another year of blogs in 2021. May the Lord’s (and Harold’s) encouragement shine through.