People wait for an H-E-B grocery store to open Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Spring, Texas. Grocery store executives and city officials reassured the community, on Monday, that plenty of food will be available in their stores and urged people not to stockpile groceries amid coronavirus concerns. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
I generally make it a point to take weekends off from writing in order to give myself time away from the 24-7 news cycle, because news overload is a very real thing, and we all need a break from it periodically.
But since my state started implementing stricter measures last month in order to help combat the Wuhan coronavirus, I switched gears and began writing every weekend.
My mother asked me why, considering that almost everything being reported on cable news and in print media was depressing. I told her it was because I was more thankful now than ever to have the flexibility to work from home at a time when so many had either been laid off or lost their jobs.
Plus, with all the stores and fun places to visit shutting down, I needed something I could do that didn’t involve watching an endless loop of YouTube DIY videos on how to make things that I’d love to but probably never would.
Still being able to work in the middle of this is not just a small blessing. It’s a BIG blessing. And beyond that, as odd as it sounds and as depressing as news cycles these days can be, I find that writing about it actually takes some of the stress out of each day.
That said, there are the little everyday small blessings to be thankful for and appreciate, too.
Grocery shopping is not something many people look forward to doing anymore. I’m not like the “Monk” character on TV, but I can be a bit of a germaphobe when I go to the stores now. I suspect a lot of people are.
So like many people, I went the Instacart route today, thinking “oh, I’ll get about half of what I order because the stores are out of so many things.”
As it turned out, I got all but one of the items on my “YUGE!” order. Had a few replacement items in the bag, but that was okay. I got the things I needed, and got some things mom and dad needed, too. It felt good to have the pressure of feeling like I *had* to go the store off of me, which I admit I was starting to feel a bit anxious about.
I graciously tipped and thanked the lady who pulled and delivered the order. “God bless you and keep you and your colleagues safe,” I told her as she walked back to her car.
Over the last few weeks, my pretty knockout rose bush in the front yard had gotten out of hand. I thought about asking the neighborhood landscapers to take care of it, but the day was so beautiful and sunny Friday that I grabbed my hedge trimmers, some thick work gloves, and decided to go out and do it myself.
I knew it would help take my mind off of what was going in the world, which was exactly what I needed.
The work was tiring, but the fresh air was wonderful to breathe in, and to feel on my skin. I felt an immense sense of accomplishment when it was all done.
I walked in, made myself a glass of iced tea, and said “thank you, Jesus” for the sunshine, the warm breezes, and for the ability to perform small tasks around the yard. I didn’t do too bad of a job for someone who is not a green thumb.
This morning, I picked up the phone to do a video chat with mom. I haven’t been able to hug her or my dad in over a month now because they’re senior citizens and we’re all being extra careful. So mom and I are doing the next best thing, which is to video chat at least once a day.
As soon as she joined in on the video chat, I saw the biggest smile I’d seen from her in a while.
“Hey, honey!” she said happily, with her hazel eyes shining bright.
I returned the greeting, but I was still wiping the sleep out of my eyes, so my smile was not as big as her’s. Not yet.
“What’s got you smiling so much today, mom?” I asked her, glad to see she was in good spirits.
“I’m seeing my girl,” she answered, looking at the screen as though I was literally right in front of her.
My smile got bigger then, too.
Blessings. Count them. Every day.