A 2020 Lens of Gratitude

Good afternoon from Westminster, MD!

Thanksgiving 2020 almost appears to be an oxymoron at first glance. Why would we associate being thankful with a year that brought us a global pandemic, political strife, social unrest, and murder hornets to name a few? It would seem more appropriate to have a “book burning ceremony” for the collective Yearbook of 2020. However, this is not how thankfulness and gratitude work.

Thankfulness and gratitude are first and foremost a choice. Whether good or bad circumstances, we have to choose gratitude or we will drift towards ungratefulness. As humans we have the unfailing ability to find disappointment in the middle of the best of times. On a tropical island, with blue water, a nice breeze, clear skies, and an umbrella drink in our hand? Everything is perfect until we realize we need to be upset that the sand is hot. If there is an imperfection we will be sure to find it.

The positive side of this challenge is we have the opportunity to choose gratitude, even in the worst of circumstances. We can be passing through the most “2020” part of 2020 and discover a ray of hope or a blessing for which to be thankful. You are stuck in quarantine for two weeks over your birthday because you unknowingly occupied the same space as someone with COVID only to have your internet decides to stop working so no Netflix? After screaming on the inside, and maybe the outside, you realize it is the first time in years you will have an opportunity to disconnect and maybe even read a book. In that moment you choose to see your life through the lens of gratitude.

What if we chose to make gratitude the primary lens through which we see life? What if instead of defaulting to disappointment we defaulted to thankfulness? What is we looked at each other, no matter the color, political beliefs, or religious affiliation, through a lens of gratitude, searching for something we can appreciate instead of something we can hate? I have a feeling this world would look a little different and we would all be happier for it.

With a little over a month left in 2020, I am going to make it my goal to put on my “gratitude glasses” every morning. Instead of drifting through life disappointed and ungrateful, I will intentionally choose to filled with gratitude for the one life I have been given. I will redeem 2020 by making it the year I remembered thankfulness is a choice worth making.

Happy Thanksgiving!

James Belt

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