Last summer, for a variety of reasons, was not fun for me. One was the intense stress of having to submit my Masters Dissertation at the end of August, but there was other stuff going on that made focusing on such a monumental task extremely challenging. But my one consolation was that if I got through the summer of 2019, the summer of 2020 would be the best one ever.
Sorry. This might all be my fault!
To say 2020 has been rough would be an understatement. With all of us confined to our homes, unable to see friends and family, some of us losing jobs, homes, or even friends and family members, this is the most psychologically taxing year any of us have ever lived through. What was promised would be a lockdown for three weeks, then became three months, and as of writing this we are nine months in to continual lockdowns and Covid restrictions with no sign of a definite end date.
But in spite of all of that, I can still think of things to be thankful for. I haven’t always felt like it, but in my life at least, I know God has granted me several blessings this year, for which I am most grateful. And, since it is Christmas, I’ll briefly go through some with you.
These are blessings that I call basic because they are so fundamentally necessary for human existence that I must and should be thankful for:
- I have never gone hungry or thirsty. I have continual access to food and clean drinking and washing water. There are billions of people for whom such things are luxuries.
- I have a safe, cosy house with a warm bed to sleep in at night.
- I have a job which pays more than I spend, so I am able to save money
- I have a good education (I graduated from my Masters this year) which God willing will allow me to start my career
- Most importantly in this list, I have a wonderful family and a great church family without whom I do not know where I would be. This is perhaps God’s greatest blessing.
Now for some more 2020 specific blessings:
- In January 2020 I graduated from the University of Sheffield. It was a hard won victory, and without the support of my family and friends I never would have got to the end. This is why Gods blessing is so important to me.
- In February 2020, we got to host our annual Youth Weekend, which is always a great time. I also went away on a walking weekend (see previous posts) which allowed me to reconnect with God a little bit.
- When lockdown began, I was on furlough, so I used my allotted outdoor time to take my dog on long walks. We went across our local nature reserve several times a week. This was a blessing as I know so many people were stuck in cities. I thrive in the open green of the countryside, so I am thankful I got to spend so much time exploring.
- Attached to the above, the weather was lovely
- We started a daily readings group during lockdown, and it was lovely to gather around Gods word every morning with my wonderful church family.
- We started an Instagram for our church which has us to share Gods message with our community, but it would not be possible without the amazing dedication of my friend Sophie.
- I am thankful that for a few months at least, we were able to have my sister and brother in law round for dinner every week.
- Through the magic of the internet, I have not only been able to maintain my friendships, but I have been most fortunate to meet some truly amazing people online, who, despite having never met them, have become dear to me in a way I cannot express.
Being thankful is a state of mind. Too often I have chosen to focus on what was wrong with my life, as opposed to what was right. The bad stuff tends to be more glaringly obvious, but when I dig down beneath it, I can find so many things that I am thankful for. God has truly blessed me with an amazing life, more than most people get, and more than I deserve.
Happy Christmas xx