A Turkey Of A Year

As Thanksgiving approaches, it might be a little hard to get our thankful on this year.  With a worldwide pandemic dogging us since the end of 2019, civil unrest, economic crisis, a hurricane season that appears to be never-ending, fires and other natural disasters scorching the earth, and all the accompanying tragedies, it might seem tempting to cut our losses and just forget about the holiday this year.  Giving thanks might take a little more grace than usual this Thanksgiving.

Undoubtedly, the holiday will be different for many people this year.  Many people will not be gathering with family face-to-face, as they usually do.  Many traditional venues for holiday celebrating may be closed or operating much differently.  Many families who have suffered financial hardships this year may be struggling to provide peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, much less turkey dinners with all the trimmings.  Many people have lost beloved family members and friends to the coronavirus.  Others have lost good health.  We have all lost a certain measure of stability and security about what our world looks like and how we should live in it. 

While it may seem more natural to question the dismal state of the world than to give thanks, it may be that living through a period of crisis actually increases our need to give thanks.  I do not suggest that the coronavirus or any of the deeply troubling events of the past year are good or necessary.  I do not believe that there is an intrinsic goodness in hardship.  I do not subscribe to a “Pollyanna” school of thought, believing that people who are suffering should just “try to see the bright side.” I believe that hardships, gut-wrenching grief, and brokenness are real.  It is disingenuous to suggest a person can just “positive” them away.  These difficulties occur for a variety of reasons in the natural world.  Sometimes, these painful events are the consequences of the actions of people.  Sometimes, they are normal experiences that are natural processes happening in the circle of life.  I do not think we will ever understand the reasons for all the hard times we must face.  I do believe, however, that God takes the hardships of our lives and brings some good from them.  Without these momentary flutters of divine grace in the midst of our pain, we might not be able to bear the most fractured moments of this life. 

I have seen some divine grace moments over the past months.  They are like fleeting twinkles of stars in a dark, gloomy sky.  This year has sometimes felt like we were each all alone in the dark.  Having even a momentary twinkle is enough to keep me hoping for morning. 

Here are some of my twinkles this Thanksgiving:

  • I am thankful for the creativity, innovation, and hard work many people exhibit to help us live more comfortably and communally in a world that closed up shop.
  • I am thankful that people have used the time of separation to touch base with others.  It may be that some of the people we have been nurturing during the quarantine may be people who are often lonely and sad, even before the virus threat.  It is counterintuitive, but it is possible that the coronavirus connected us more than it separated us.
  • I am thankful for the generosity of people to those who have suffered financially during this past year.
  • I am thankful that the need to stay home gave me the time to publish a new book.
  • I am thankful for the quiet and comfort of my home. 
  • I am thankful that I was able to clean out all my closets and drawers.
  • I am thankful that the treatment protocols for COVID-19 have improved and that vaccine progress is hopeful.
  • I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in faith who hold me close to their hearts and inspire me with their journeys.
  • I am thankful for the internet, Zoom, email, texting, Facebook, and other virtual communication methods.
  • I am thankful that I will have a Thanksgiving dinner, even if it is not exactly like previous years.
  • I am thankful that God gave me blessings to share with others.  I am so much more aware of how much fun it is and how happy it makes me to sow God’s grace. 
  • Most of all, I am thankful that I am a beloved child of God. I can rely on his all-consuming love to comfort me in the heartbreaks of this life and to lead me to eternal joy in His presence when I am finished with the work He has for me to do. 

It certainly may be that giving thanks will take a little more grace this year.  The good news is that God always has more grace to provide.  Anyone want a second helping?

I don’t know if you caught that I was thankful that I had the opportunity to publish a book this year. If television commercials are to be believed, it seems the entire month of November is “black Friday” this year. In that spirit, I respectfully suggest you go to Amazon.com and buy many copies of Random (A)Musings by Dorry Curran to give as holiday gifts!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

Welcome To My Pity Party

I am well and truly sick of the coronavirus.  I have resisted succumbing for many months, but I now suffer from a severe case of covid fatigue.  A couple of days ago, I was feeling especially restless and frustrated.  I made the mistake of googling “will the coronavirus ever end?” If you are struggling to keep your head above the cooties, I do not recommend googling this question.  The articles that estimated the duration of the pandemic uniformly suggested that we will not hear the end of the virus until the third or fourth quarter of 2021.  In other words… ANOTHER WHOLE YEAR!!!

I have been depressed ever since I read this prediction.  I do not know if I can handle another year of this half-assed version of normal the world is simulating.

  • I am sick of breathing through a mask.
  • I am sick of muffled communication.  It is so difficult to hear people and to speak intelligibly through a mask, it often seems easier to just not talk at all.
  • I am sick of having bad hair days every day.  The mask is 2020’s version of a hat… once you put one on, you had better keep it on because removing a mask that has been plastered to your head leaves your hair flattened and bent at all kinds of unnatural and unflattering angles .
  • I am sick of events being cancelled… the butterfly release at my church, my trip to New York, the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, the Royal Canin dog show spectator activities, and the list goes on.
  • I am sick of not hugging people.
  • I am sick of looking for logical consistency in circumstances that are not conducive to logical consistency.
  • I am sick of constantly having to rethink routines and old ways of accomplishing things.
  • I am sick of feeling like everyone I love is so far away from me.  I feel isolated from even those who are nearby.
  • I am sick of researching coronavirus statistics in search of definitive good news and trying to be satisfied with small, sporadic victories.

This is just a partial list of things I am sick of.  (Yes, I know that you should not end a sentence with a preposition, but I am too sick and tired to care!) Truthfully, the list is endless.  Just as I think I have reconciled myself to one kick in the gut, something I never even thought about rises to the surface of my reality.

I think I have always been a grateful person and I think that I still am, even in the midst of corona crazy.  I know how blessed I am in every way.  I know that God uses even the worst situation to build and create wonderful results, so I trust that this time of challenge will yield some positive outcomes. I have been stalwart in trying to keep people engaged and connected.  Every time a challenge has presented itself, I have endeavored to be part of the solution instead of just whining about the problem. 

Now, however, I seem to be a bit stuck in the slog.  I do not seem to be able to get myself out of it.  I desperately want a break from challenge, but I have not been able to find a place to really accomplish that.

I may have found an answer last Sunday at worship service.  As I listened to the readings, one particular passage, Philippians 4:7-9, punched me in the soul.  It says:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

During the sermon, the rector talked about how difficult and antagonistic the world can be.  He suggested that there is no real place in which to take a break from challenge in this world.  However, in allowing my mind to focus on whatever is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy rather than the anxieties and difficulties of the world, the God of peace will be with me.  I do not think God wants me to avoid challenges at this difficult time. I think His will for me is to meet those challenges with an approach that is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.  In that way, I can give glory to His name, benefit His people, and grow my own relationship with Him.  I must not only remember all I have learned of God and focus on sacred excellence.  I must also put it into practice.

So, I am still sick and tired of the aspects of the world that are not pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.  I do not understand the way the world is turning just now.  I do not understand why things cannot go back to normal.  I cannot understand why everything must be so hard.  However, Philippians 4:7-9 tells me that I do not need to understand because the peace of God is much more powerful than understanding.  Perhaps the answer to my “sick and tired of being sick and tired” tirade is to dump the anxiety and exhaustion of the world and let God carry it alone for a little bit while I focus on the pure and lovely!

What do you do when you get sick and tired of covid challenges?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative,  you can email me at terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a pure and lovely day!

Terri/Dorry 😊