Can you believe the summer is coming to a close again? I can’t believe it’s August!
Around here on Fridays, the roads are full of beach traffic. It seemed that today, though there were MANY more cars than usual. It made me wonder if everyone is trying to get in their last few vacation days before the school year starts again. I began to think about all the vacations and “normal” summer activities that were canceled or delayed last year. It seems like many people are trying to make up for that this year.
I will say that it has been so refreshing to get away for a bit and also to enjoy some things that we haven’t done in awhile. After 18 months of a pandemic, I’m thankful for all those “normal” things. Oh how my heart longed for a sense of normalcy when we were sitting at home for months and months. Absence does make the heart fonder!
God has used that time, though, to make me thankful for the little things.
This summer where things have been a little bit more open, I’m thankful for coffee dates with friends (where we can sit across a table from each other and not walk around outside and maybe now we can even get a side hug). I’m thankful for dinners inside with extended family and gatherings with coworkers. (I remember the feeling at the end of the school year when two of us hung out at the copier to talk. It felt like such a gift because we had been avoiding gatherings all year!)
I’m thankful for meals at a restaurant and singing together in church. I’m thankful for the opportunities to go away on vacation. I’m thankful that when I went on vacation, I could sign out of work email and ignore the work calls. Last summer, it seemed like non-stop work as we tried to prepare and make decisions for a school year like none other. Even when our admin team took vacation days, we were still “on call.” I’m thankful that this year was different.
What are you thankful for this summer?
I’m thankful for the ways that God reminded me during the pandemic that He is with us. When we couldn’t be with others, He reminded me that He never left. That didn’t change as things started to become a little bit normal. He is with us now as things have opened up (but might be “closing down” again as numbers of COVID tick up). It doesn’t matter what the circumstance is. He is here and is in control. There is lots of hard in this world and life doesn’t make sense, but He promises never to leave. I’m thankful for that.
I also realized I’m thankful for traffic. I don’t know what it’s been like around you, but here, the traffic has been so much less the last year or so. With lockdowns and so many other restrictions on travel, people were at home. Driving to work in the spring (once we were back in school) was amazing because there were less cars and it took less time to get to work…. but as the volume of traffic began to tick back up this summer, I found myself getting annoyed. Annoyed at something that is actually just showing that people are trying to get back to “normal.” I began to reflect on the paradox. I want things to be back to normal (because there were so many things that I missed out on during lockdown), but I also recognize that there were blessings during the pandemic. In my mind, less traffic was one of those blessings. The traffic this weekend reminded me of the blessings of the pandemic sooo yes, today, I’m thankful for the traffic.
Here are some of the blessings of the pandemic.
I’m thankful for friends and extended family who found creative ways to see each other- whether on long socially distanced walks outside or on zoom. (Those family game nights over zoom were interesting weren’t they?!!:) I’m thankful for the reconnection with several friends that I hadn’t talked to in years- all because we had time on our hands and because zoom became “normal” and we remembered that we had technology to connect with each other even though we were in different countries!
I’m thankful for the creative ways that teachers found to use technology in order to support students with learning differences. Some of those ideas we’ll be able to keep using! I’m thankful for the quiet time during the pandemic to stop and hear God’s voice. I’m thankful for time outside- the exercise, the vitamin D and the new parks we found to explore. I’m thankful for the time I took to enjoy the sunset each day. Did you notice they’re all so different- even when we’re looking at them from the same porch each night! God’s amazing like that! I’m thankful for the details of plants growing in the spring. I had time to look at those plants often and see the tiny growth each day:). Once again God’s creation is amazing!
What are those blessings that I’ll keep from the pandemic? As life gets a little more normal, will I remember to stop and look a the sunset or take a walk with a friend or slow down to hear God’s voice and notice the beauty in His creation? If things begin to shut down again because of rising numbers in COVID, will I remember that God is in control even then?
My lesson today- I may not love the increased traffic, but I can be thankful that it reminded me to be grateful- grateful for the things that we missed during the pandemic (that we’re now able to do) AND grateful for the things we learned how to do during the pandemic because God slowed us down.
What pandemic blessings are you thankful for?