Last Monday began like any other day, except it wasn’t. I woke up achy, a feeling in my sinus and chest like no other. A slight cough. A slight temperature.
Warning bells went off in my head. “Oh, hell no! No…No…No…No…NO!” My mind began to shout, “Haven’t I been through enough? Isn’t breast cancer, infection after infection, surgery after surgery, for 3 plus years, enough?”
But the virus, this strange animal called Covid-19, had other ideas and decided to play games with me. For seven days I let it. I let it invade, I let it mess with my head, I let it run my life.
And then…I decided enough with the doom and gloom. It was time to be grateful.
Not grateful for the virus. Certainly not grateful for the strain it has put on my body and the stress it is causing my family, the pain it is currently causing the collective world. But grateful, that gratitude is not beholden to a virus, but instead a gift that I could give myself and to all who know me, while I battled this microscopic beast.
So here it is, from my heart to yours. Something to change perspective, to wipe the dirt from our weary souls. To remove the fear and doubt and make me believe. You believe.
Things I am grateful for this past week:
I am grateful for a house with creaky floors and the dryer that vibrates the ceiling.
I am grateful for two cats who, despite always finding a clean rug to hack up a hairball, quietly curl up next to me, their deep vibrato purr a balm to this endless restlessness.
I am grateful for a bedroom with a picture widow where, between naps, I can look upon the birds gathered at the fountain for a drink, fighting over the seeds that drip from the feeder onto the pink flowers entangled below it.
I am grateful for my older son who has taken to dressing up in silly costumes for his video conferences with his San Diego State work colleagues. “It’s alright. It’s alright. We may not be able to be together, but we will get through this together!”
I am grateful for teachers who have found new ways to stay connected with their students on line through reading stories, singing songs, and reminding them that each day is a beautiful gift.
I am grateful to the friend from church who messaged me she wanted to bake me something to cheer me up and made me laugh when she prefaced the message by saying, “I promise I’m really not that terrible a baker.”
I am grateful for my husband, a shy man, the love of my life, who quietly rises to the occasion each day to lead with a normalcy that wraps itself around me, “like the feeling of warm blanket on a cold and frosty morning.” Cue Doris Day and Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk! Wink. Wink.
I am grateful for my mom and dad, who know I worry about them and text me often to let me know that the grocery store line was orderly, that they are managing o.k. and that they love me. I can feel their resilience propel me forward across the miles.
I am grateful for my Pastors, who long before this crises, trusted the people in their care to tend and nurture the mustard seeds, so that the church was and is so much more than the sum of it’s walls.
I am grateful for my daughter, whose artistry and vision somehow seem effortless in these troubled times and yet, this mother knows she is struggling to find a way to make sense of it all. I wish I had the answer.
I am grateful for my dear friend who opens her door every week so that the notes of her piano ring out through her complex to all who are lonely and frightened. “I see you. I care” her piano sings.
I am grateful for Clorox wipes, and lavender hand soap and the Bergamot lotion that soothes my chaffed hands and reminds me of Paris.
I am grateful for my brother and his wife and their dogs. Knowing Zeus and Athena are underfoot with their humans somehow brings me comfort.
I am grateful for my younger son, who accepted his sudden return to the nest from college much better than I would have, and figured out how to carve out a semi-normal existence while managing to keep both his school and engineering internship intact. I know he’s suffering privately and it’s hard.
I am grateful for my book club and bible study and my dear friends who have texted and Facebooked and called to check up on me. I love all of you.
I am grateful for my online garden community, once strangers, now friends, connected by the marvel of God’s amazing creation and a belief that we will need it more than ever once this storm passes.
I am grateful for my brother in law and sister in law, that their cruise ship was not one of disease, but one that was able to find a safe port and a plane to carry them home.
I am grateful for all of the medical professionals and first responders and military who answered the call to serve something greater than themselves. I owe you my life.
I am grateful for the bee that buzzes in my orange tree, reminding me that we do not always control our destiny, but we must work at it never the less.
I am grateful for my sponsor child Emmy, in Uganda, that he has a place to rest his head, a warm meal in his tummy, an education, and that he loves Jesus.
I am grateful for water that runs freely from my faucet, and toilet paper to wipe my bottom, and a toilet to flush it in.
I am grateful to the homeless, the impoverished, the less fortunate, who remind me of all that I have to give.
I am grateful to all the caregivers, their masked faces in this new world order embody a strength and sense of purpose that I must learn from and aspire.
I am grateful to the workers in the fields, the grocery and stockroom clerks, the truckers and warehouse helpers, the delivery drivers and all those who never asked to be first responders, but are responding to the call just the same.
I am grateful to the sound of the distant buzz of a lawn mower that reminds me of something normal. I need normal right now.
I am grateful I can still curl up on the couch and find Lucille Ball and Andy Griffith still the same after sixty odd years and remember what life used to be like before all of this.
I am grateful for my God. For in Him I find my rock. My compass, my acceptor of all of my imperfections. The one who time and again is willing to give me another chance to get it right. To appreciate what I have not tomorrow, but today.
Finally, I am grateful for the P that calls to me from the mountain top that positivity is always a choice and well worth the climb. I will keep trying.
So many I want to thank. So many who came before me I wish I could thank. I hope you know, I notice you in the shadows, all of you each and every week, and I am so grateful. Stepping out of your comfort zones, to comfort me and the countless others who need to know, in this time of trial, that the world had not gone mad, but is very much alive with the vibrancy of the human spirit. It isn’t by chance that the Easter story is before us.
We too will rise again.
Let gratitude lift you up and out of this dark place. Practice it. Practice it. Practice it.
Thanks for reading. I am getting better every day and looking forward to new beginnings with all of you.