Being Grateful in the Time of COVID-19
By: Sandra Squires, UTO Board President Emeritus
Stand six feet apart.
Wear a mask when out in public.
Only go to the grocery store once a week, with a list, get in and out, and shop alone.
Wash your hands frequently.
Attend church services online, and no gatherings larger than 10.
If you decide to eat out, pick up your food and take it home.
Visit your loved ones in nursing homes by looking at them through a window or connecting by Zoom.
These are the times that we live in right now with no real idea of how long this will go on and what reentry to “normal” will look like. So how are you doing? How did you get through Holy Week and Easter feeling like you had the wonderful and intimate experience of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection? How is it possible to be grateful for this time?
This time is easier for people who like to do things that feed their inner thoughts and feelings. I like to read and I like to walk. Those are things I can still do. I have never liked TV except for the news, but I am learning to watch Broadway shows and other fundraising events on the internet to feed my need for entertainment. Confession: I did binge watch reruns of The Vicar of Dibley and loved it just as much this time as the first time I saw them.
I don’t like to call people on the phone but love using the internet. I am learning how important it is to call people for a chat, and it has been more fun than I thought it would be. I am busy on Zoom with church, coffee hours, book clubs, social gatherings, conferences, and topic-oriented discussions. I am busy connecting with people in a way that I haven’t for years. I am rethinking how to explore my world without straying far from home for vacation.
On the question of gratitude: I am grateful for friends who have let me teach them about FaceTime and Zoom (thank you, Heather and the UTO Board, for teaching me Zoom!); I am grateful for finding a quiet meditation on Facebook with Dean Kate Moorehead, who gently gets me going in the morning; I am grateful for all the unread books on my iPad and in my personal library; I am grateful that my two-year building project is completed and I can park in the garage; I am grateful that I have a daughter who works in the grocery industry and has become my personal shopper; I am grateful that I have plenty of comfortable clothes and shoes to wear; I am grateful for all the funny moments that happen in my home or that I see on the internet; I am grateful for you, dear UTO coordinators and friends, who are trying your best to show your gratitude every step of the way; and most of all, I am grateful for God who allowed me to be born during this time when I can use technology to connect to people rather than during the 1918 influenza of my parents.
May you, too, count the many blessings you have during ordinary times but also the blessings of this time, in this place, and with the support of the people who live with you or see you on the computer screen or hear you on the phone. Take a deep breath and thank God for all of this. Be grateful!