chronic pain/illness,  gratitude

What Giving Thanks Can Do for us in 2020…(if we let it)

‘2020’ has become a punchline for all negative things that have happened to us during this past year.

It’s not uncommon to hear, “that’s sooo 2020!” when discussing our struggles with friends and family. In a way, I’m glad that we are able to laugh and release some of the pressure that has built up in us since Covid came into our lives in February.

‘Social distancing’ became a term that we have gotten to know and learn well. This brand-new verb meant that our precious connections with those we hold near and dear would have to be put on pause as we navigate how to now hold them far and dear.

And as if this pandemic wasn’t bad enough, we are just now beginning to recuperate from the built-up pressure cooker of a US election that made many of our heads ready to pop. It got so ugly for many of us that friendships were compromised, things with family got tense, and stress levels in just about every person I know were through the roof.

During it all, we forgot to love each other. In a year where we needed to pull together, we forgot that we are all human and desire different things. Nobody is evil and nobody is out to get anybody….we need to spread GRATITUDE during this year, not venom.

It’s all so 2020, right?

My best friend in the entire world passed away in March while waiting to get on the heart transplant list. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t gasp for air as I remember that she’s not here anymore.

My illness got worse, with still few answers. When things calmed down with the pandemic for a bit at the end of the summer, I had a glorious glimmer of hope when I was accepted to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to have a team do a workup on me and finally (possibly) get to the bottom of this neurological ‘wonderland’ that has been giving me such trouble for so long. Yay!!!

But that hope was put on pause as Covid started up again and Mayo became unable to take me for the time being. Last I heard, there were over 900 staff members there who have Covid. There’s no question in my mind that helping our precious Covid patients is a priority, nor would I want to be there right now anyway, but I’ll admit….it was another crushing blow.

I’m not unique in this list of lousy things that make up my 2020 punchline. Everyone I know has a story, a set of circumstances, loss….it has happened to all of us.

I hear so many of us who wish to just throw in the towel on 2020 so we can fast forward through the last month and a half and get us racing into 2021 as quickly as possible.

I don’t.

I write about GRATITUDE. I also run a group on Facebook as well as a weekly live broadcast on GRATITUDE. I research and am writing a book on GRATITUDE.

I know GRATITUDE.

And here is what I know as we prepare to ‘un-gather’ with friends and family for this historic Thanksgiving of 2020.

Where are our blessings for this year?

They are right here.

They are within us.

GRATITUDE brings our clear attention to all that is good in this life and moves our pain and struggles to the fuzzy, out of focus background. These struggles are still there, of course, but GRATITUDE puts into focus the things we have at this very moment that we do not want to lose and keeps them in the forefront of our heart.

GRATITUDE itself is a gift that we can give ourselves, and what a glorious thing that we have the ability to do that! Our circumstances are not always within our control, but how we respond to them IS and will set the story for how we move forward with them and on with our lives.

Do we want to waste the rest of 2020 complaining? We certainly have a lot to complain about, but is that really what we want?

I don’t.

I still have 6 weeks of this year that I would like to make the best that I can. I am not giving up! I’m GRATEFUL that I keep myself aware of my blessings each and every day through my daily practice and not just for one day in November.

I would encourage you all to do the same. Believe me, life gets a whole lot sweeter despite the blind turns that come out of nowhere when we approach them with a GRATEFUL heart.

I wish you all the happiest and safest of Thanksgivings. May the love you share for the family you will be missing this year remind you of how GRATEFUL you are to have them in your life at all. Reassure yourself that by keeping yourself safe this year, you are doing your part to ensure that hopefully you will be with them again next year.

My hindsight is 2020….it’s not my punchline. I’d rather write my own ending to the year with an attitude of GRATITUDE.

You can too!

GRATITUDE….it’s not just for Thanksgiving anymore.


Need help getting a daily GRATITUDE practice as part of your life? Join our Facebook community “Attitude of Gratitude with Chronic Pain” and we will be happy to show you how it’s done! We’d love to have you!

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Lynne Ramos

Well said, Lauren! Love you my friend!

Debra Immer Scott

This is WONDERFUL and HOPEFUL! Thank you SO MUCH! Gratitude for sharing! 🌻💛🌻