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Give Thanks in the Small Joys

Every fall I feel a little melancholy. I do not know why, because autumn is my favorite season. Maybe it’s the nostalgia and the self-reflection that comes with the ending year or the weariness in realizing that another year has come and almost gone. We can all empathize with that sentiment this year. Here we are in November and in some ways, it feels as if March has lasted an eternity; with the pandemic numbers on the rise again and all the uncertainty in our world. Very quickly, we can find reasons to worry and stress and feel sorry for ourselves and be frustrated at the situation.

The reality is, we live in a pandemic. There is no known end date. That’s not pessimism, that’s fact. Being frustrated or angry will not change that fact. Activism will not change that fact. We didn’t have a choice in whether or not to live during a pandemic, but we do have the choice on how we live during the pandemic. We can choose to reframe our thoughts, stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and be thankful for what we have.

J.R.R. Tolkien, British author and WW1 veteran of the Battle of the Somme is most famous for his fantasy work the “Lord of the Rings”. In this timeless epic, Frodo Baggins, a Hobbit, inherits the One Ring; the beloved tool of the evil sorcerer Sauron who declares war on the free people of Middle Earth. Frodo, a small nobody, finds himself in the center of the biggest conflict of the age and he must find the grit to continue his quest in the face of adversity to destroy the One Ring and end the evil in Middle Earth.

During his journey the hero, Frodo, as he shoulders the burden of Middle Earth’s fate, looks to his mentor the wizard Gandalf and says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

We didn’t have a choice to live during a pandemic, but we do have a choice about how we live during the pandemic. As we move into this season of thankfulness, let us remember what we do have, let us dig deep and rise each morning with courage to face the day, and let us give thanks in the small joys every day.

Author: Sarah Floyd, LMSW, Manager of Jackson Living Center