Monday, September 14, 2020

Attitude of Gratitude III

Standard disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are the rambling thoughts of the author and not necessarily representative of Living Word Lutheran Church.

I continue to practice having an attitude of gratitude throughout the day. It is a conscious decision to be grateful. Why? There is an old proverb that states "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." Having gratitude makes life better. So my thought of  gratitude for today is that during this pandemic I feel like I have more time. I know that this is not really true. Time is finite and there are still only 1440 minutes in a day, but for me it feels like I now have more time. 

As states issued stay-at-home orders to limit the spread of COVID-19, an increasing number of people started working from home, or they’ve lost their jobs and are navigating unemployment and hoping for the best. While this was all happening, we heard countless jokes about how people are bing-watching Netflix (like "Tiger King"), stress baking sourdough bread, decluttering their homes, or learning new languages. 

This is not really true for me... I still work every day (albeit from home instead of the office) and there are still things that need to be accomplished as always, but I no longer have to drive to and from work. Many of the "extra-curricular" events and social activities that I use to spend time on have been cancelled or postponed. Even so, I realize that in reality it is probably that my priorities on how I spend my time have changed.

I touched on this subject back in April... I feel like I have more time to reflect and spend with God in prayer and scripture. More time to do all those little things that I was putting off until I had the time. Time to spend in longer conversations with my wife and with my family (even though it may be via Facetime or Zoom).

But just because it works for me, I am aware that not everyone feels the same. More time spent at home doesn't necessarily mean more free time. For many, the pandemic means balancing their jobs with child care and home-schooling duties. For others, a layoff means filing for unemployment and finding ways to cut costs. Many of us are cleaning more to prevent the spread of the virus and cooking more  as restaurants close or offer limited takeout. As people work from home, the ability for work hours to bleed into personal hours becomes easier. Health care and essential workers are facing the stress of battling the virus on the front lines. At the beginning of self- and government-imposed social distancing, there was a flood of online discourse about how to spend quarantine, and some found it overwhelming. 

So if you feel that you have less time than before. Don't worry... you are not alone.

Remember as God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3...

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

So, maybe after more consideration, its not that I actually have more time... but "better" time. Time that is better spent than how I previously used it. Time to talk to family and friends (even if only via technology) is better. Time for thought and reflection is better. Time to do all the little things that I enjoy is better. Time spent with God in prayer and in His Word is better. If I am using my time for these things, it is better. 

So as they say in New Orleans (although I am certainly using it out of context),  "Laissez les bons temps rouler." - Let the good times roll.

I am grateful for the time that I have and that it seems to be better spent. I hope that you are blessed with "better time" as well.

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