In the first spring of the pandemic, in 2020, the phrase we often used to describe our journey through it was a hopeful “getting back to normal soon.”
In the second spring of the pandemic, in 2021, the phrase we are using to describe finding our way forward is “in the new normal.”
The differing descriptives are an indication that things have changed over the last year—and that the changes are impacting our lives in significant ways. Some have lost family members and loved ones. Some have become sick and recovered. All of us can describe ways in which the pandemic has been challenging—for our health, our families, our work, our finances, our plans, our mobility, and our social interaction.
As the pandemic has impacted us each differently, so are the ways in which we are confronting and working through the impact it has on our lives. It may seem overwhelming at times. I find that there are two questions I can ask myself that are helpful in navigating through it all.
The first question is this: “What is blessing my life right now?” When I ask myself this question, I am forced to take stock of what is going on around me. This question helps me refocus. It reminds me of things I might take for granted. It helps puts things that are happening to me and around me in a framework where I can see the strengths and possibilities more clearly.
The second question that calls me to action is, “How can I say thank you?” How can I express my gratitude—for the goodness of life, for the support of those around me, and for all the ways in which that support benefits me? What can I do that communicates my appreciation for the way I have been blessed? I believe that by seeking out ways to express appreciation, I am fulfilling our mission of extending God’s care to those with whom I interact, and I am accepting God’s grace into my own life as well.
The questions we ask ourselves may not change external circumstances—such as the pandemic. But by shaping our attitudes toward our circumstances, those questions have great power. They give us back freedoms we might have imagined we had lost. They are a gateway for coping, responding, and understanding.
What is blessing your life right now? How can you say thank you?