The COVID-19 pandemic has been consequential to say the least. In addition to a staggering death toll, it has brought disruption to all of us. And yet, that very disruption offers the opportunity to reflect on our everyday lives.
As Thanksgiving approaches in the U.S., are there things that you are grateful for due to the pandemic?
There are many possibilities. In-person Thanksgiving gatherings were discouraged last year, so the simple fact of seeing family for the holiday may take on a new-found appreciation.
If you have not had COVID, you may be thankful for your health; if you have had it, you may be thankful to have survived.
You may be grateful for the vaccine and the scientists who produced it so quickly, which has allowed safer in-person celebrations this year.
Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘How do you show thanks?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What book has had the biggest impact on you?’
Health care workers have been under remarkable stresses over the last year and a half, and continue to be even now. Giving thanks to them would not be unreasonable.
Nor would it be unreasonable to be grateful for the teachers, who between quickly adopting to teaching remotely to dealing with rapidly changing safety protocols and helping sometimes traumatized children and teens.
Other essential workers, including the people who grow, pick, ship, and sell the food we consume on Thanksgiving day deserve appreciation.
Will any of these groups get a special nod from you on Thursday? What other groups have been left out? Other than people, what else merits attention?
On this Thanksgiving, are there any new things you are grateful for, that have come about or been highlighted due to the pandemic?
Related questions: What are you grateful for? How are you going to celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Are there unexpected benefits to what we are going through? What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
4 thoughts on “How Has The Pandemic Made You Grateful?”
I feel grateful because Rebecca and I have the means to maintain a semblance of a normal life despite the chaos the pandemic has created for those with little or without.
People experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable to COVID. Not only are those fortunate to access emergency shelter living in congregant settings, but many of those living on the streets or in shelters also suffer from other chronic health conditions that make them more vulnerable to and suffer greatly from the virus if they catch it. Millions of low-income renters are in danger of losing their housing or already have because moratoria preventing evictions on state and federal levels have expired. They may be destined to homelessness or double or triple up in living conditions that make them more vulnerable.
Beyond catching COVID, the pandemic also ran roughshod over our economy, especially in the first year of its presence. Many people lost their jobs. The poorest amongst us were also those most likely to face this situation. With no cushion, no wealth or savings to rely on, they currently face debt, which can have immediate and long-term devastating consequences.
As is noted with nearly every economic measurement describing how the poor have been impacted, BIPOC communities disproportionately suffer the most. The dangers of homelessness or losing housing already mentioned hit these communities most, as does the extreme homeownership gap between whites and nearly all other racial groups.
Rebecca and I have a home. We have secure jobs. We are healthy. We are white. We are both fortunate and privileged. Not only do I feel grateful for our security, but I also feel guilt that others are struggling so much.
Michael, are most of the homeless you work with from other racial groups?
Yes. Disproportionately and a majority.
So what is Thankfulness/gratefulness, really? To me it’s to be properly aimed at a specific person who helped in a tangible way. So honestly, what I feel most is not gratefulness but relief.
Most of my advantages are white-privilege benefits, neither earned nor deserved over anybody else, and I wish those benefits could be enjoyed by all equally from day one. But I am relieved that at age 40 my desire for a new career panned out and I got into software development, the upshot of that being that I was able to work from home during the quarantine (and still do). Otherwise, I’d still be in some low-paying prepress job (or unemployed) and would have been struggling — and not able to work at home, most likely.
I guess I am grateful that my mom, a single mother of three, was able to save money for college for all of us. But that doesn’t directly relate to COVID and the quarantine. Besides, I blame the isolation of this period for her having given up on living last year and leaving us.
I am relieved that my kids are grown and mostly on their own during the pandemic. That’s just fortuitous timing. However I do thank my second kid for choosing a college less than an hour away, where COVID precautions were strictly followed, so he was able to visit with his usual frequency.
I can’t be grateful for living in New England, where masking and vaccination are viewed positively, because I choose to live here rather than less enlightened areas of the country.
I’m continually grateful that my husband likes me the way I am and puts up with my quirks (as I put up with his) – again, not COVID-related. Actually, come to think of it, I’m grateful that his job required him to be in the office every day, since that meant we didn’t have enforced-togetherness through the whole quarantine. We would have been fine, but it’s nice that we weren’t tested or stressed that way.