the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

We say the word "gratitude" a lot now days.  We say it so much that I no longer want to use the word.  Some use the word so much it's to the point that it seems it has lost its value.  

What does this word actually look like in real life?

I don't have to tell you that we're living in really weird times right now... a lot of uncertainty and so much is unknown.  We're ALL living in these times together.  As so, we are now all connected.

We don't know where to turn to for truthful answers nor what our future (even a day or a month) will be like.  We are forced inside (literally in our homes and within our own selves) to rely on how we will care for ourselves and others through this.  

Will we (as humans) choose to become better now and after this is over? Will we choose to make changes?

I surround myself with what brings me safety and I connect to those who remind me of the goodness of humans.  I disconnect from what gives me anxiety (social media, untrue sources who look out for only their own good, and political haters).

During this time I continue to question.  I want to be a better person during this and after this.  I ask myself what I will do better and what I want to accomplish during this time.  

I'm on the "high risk" list because of Type 1 diabetes.  We're receiving news now that grocery stores will start to open early for the elderly (yay!) and for those on the "high risk" list.  I struggle with accepting myself as high risk.  I especially struggle with allowing myself to be one of the first people to be able to receive food or toiletries because I need to separate myself from those who may cause me to become ill (or die) more easily than others.

My husband tells me that he has no problem with us going into the store during special times.  While I ask myself, "Am I really worth saving?", he sees my value.  So, why can't I see it? I continue to tell myself that I don't deserve special treatment while others suffers.

It's what the world teaches us... to always downplay our own selves.  We are told that we are "ego" if we hurt for ourselves.  We are continually told that someone is always worse off than we are and to not be the "victim".  In teaching this, we've also taught people to not be accepting of our own needs and to not value ourselves nor others.  This is teaching to not be grateful.

There is SO much that I am grateful for right now:  a husband who I love being with (even in 600 sq ft); a boss and job that allows my husband to work from home to keep us both healthy; friends who I remain in contact with via internet/social media; food, water, and toiletries; friends who I know will help us if we are in need; insurance that my husband provides for us; my medical necessities; people who are stocking our shelves; delivery people; people in restaurants who are continuing to serve through curb-side or deliver; and, in some ways, diabetes that I never use as a way to accept special help - until now.

I remind myself - If I don't accept what is being given to me, I'm not being grateful and I'm denying myself what the world is willing to share with me.

Even though it's difficult to accept my value and needs, I can take those feelings by the hand and take a step in accepting what is being given to me.  

I ask myself, "How can I give back?" "How can I accept this with my feelings of shame and embarrassment while also accepting with gratitude what is being given to me?"

While the definition of gratitude above states it is a noun, I see it more a verb... an action that we are taking (even with feelings of shame and embarrassment) instead of just sitting in our appreciation without action.

Stay safe and well.
-- Lisa Pratt, March 2020