Even With All We’ve Been Through, We Can Still Be Thankful

Oh 2020.  The year that just keeps on giving, even when we wish it would stop.

2020 has, unfortunately, brought with it a lot of pain and sadness for many people, me included.  And as much as I’m looking forward to seeing this year end, I have to be realistic in the fact that a new year doesn’t mean everything is going to immediately get better. 

But one morning last week I woke up before my alarm went off.  And as I laid in my bed, a rush of thoughts and feelings came over me and I found myself getting emotional. 

I have no idea where it came from, but I was suddenly feeling incredibly thankful. 

Thankful for my job and the children I get to work with each day. 

Thankful for my coworkers who share the same passion for teaching that I do.

Thankful for my loving, supportive husband and my two amazing children; for my friends who bring so much joy and laughter into my life. 

Thankful for trustworthy neighbors and a school district doing all they can to provide a safe learning environment for my daughter.  I could go on and on.

In a year that has been one negative thing after another, it felt really uplifting to focus on the positives.  And then I saw this post on social media:

“2020 has actually been the best year of your life.  You’ve faced challenge after challenge, you’ve adapted, and you’ve overcome.  2020 has forced you to grow exponentially. Don’t take that for granted.”

To consider 2020 as the best year of my life has never crossed my mind.  Not even once.  But reading that really made me think.  And what I’ve come to realize is that 2020 will forever be a big part of my life. Even with as much hurt as it’s caused, it’s also brought me many moments of joy and happiness and for that I’m thankful.  

Even With All We've Been Through, We Can Still Be Thankful

So I decided I’m not going to let 2020 define my life. 

And when I close this chapter I’m going to remember this year as a time where I learned a lot about myself. Because I’m in control of how I react to what’s happening in my life, even when it feels completely out of control.  

It’s a dark time for so many.  But we have to believe these days will pass.  We have to change our focus and remember just how special, beautiful, and blessed our lives are, even under stressful and scary conditions.    

You have fought many battles this year, wiped away many tears, and you survived.  Life knocked you down and showed you things you never wanted to see.  But you got back up.

Sometimes it’s all too easy to get caught up in all the negative.  But when we truly think about everything we do have it can really help to put it all in perspective, no matter how hard things may be.  

So do me a favor.  Take a moment to think about all of the goodness you have in your life. 

Think about what brings you happiness and think about what makes you smile.  Think about all of those things, and be thankful. 

There are always things to be thankful and grateful for.  Whether they are big things or small things, these blessings remind us why it is important to celebrate every day.  They remind us how lucky we truly are and how important it is to share our love with family, neighbors, and friends.  

Because we can still be thankful for all we do have, even when things are difficult.

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Ashley is a ‘small town’ girl who moved to the ‘big city’ of Cedar Rapids after high school. A graduate of Coe College, Ashley is currently a kindergarten teacher and a true lover of yoga pants, cozy sweatshirts, chai tea lattes and cookie dough. Ashley and her husband, Mitch, first met each other back in middle school, dated when they were freshmen in high school, then reconnected one final time via Facebook back in 2006 shortly after Mitch returned from his first deployment. They've stood by their vows of ‘for better or worse,’ and as they approach their 10 year wedding anniversary, they aren’t afraid to admit that marriage isn’t easy. They welcomed their first child, Stella Grace Bass, in May of 2013 and their second child, Archer Mitchell Bass, in December of 2017!