Just Be Grateful

This has been a challenging time for us all.

I could list all the reasons this year has been so painful… the devastating impact to so many small businesses, people who have lost a loved one to COVID-19, not being able to visit aging family members, tough decisions about putting kids in school, etc. but where do I stop? The list would get quite long.

Then add to this the terrible ways people are treating each other in the midst of this outrageously polarized political season. I am amazed and a bit heartbroken in seeing how people are treating each other. This has all made a bad situation worse, as if the pandemic alone was not bad enough.

And then there has been the unprecedented wildfires in Colorado, burning nearly half a million acres of my favorite place on Earth, in Rocky Mountain National Park.

And then there are friends who have been battling cancer, some having already lost their battle, plus a dear friend recently died unexpectedly in a car accident.

I must admit I have been struggling to deal with all this lately. In a sense, I guess I am suffering from 2020 depression. I find myself just emotionally depleted.

And then I remember all the truly beautiful friends in my life. I am so blessed.

And then I will never forget how so many people responded to help us and our small business through the GofundMe Small Business Relief Initiative and other ways they helped. This helped us survive this unexpected pandemic. It has all been so humbling. We still have some tough months ahead, but this GofundMe campaign and other generosity of friends and clients is proving to be a lifesaver for us.

Our Sanity Walks
Every morning, Gail and I go on a 3.5 mile walk which I have been calling my “sanity walk.” We usually walk through our neighborhood or on some of the nearby hiking trails in the hills near our home. While on our sanity walk, I will often photograph something that catches my eye, using my iPhone. The point isn’t to create some amazing photograph. It is more about simply appreciating the small things in life, the things I might be tempted to walk on past and just take for granted.

Anyway, on this day where “melancholy” perhaps best describes my feelings about 2020, I must remember to be thankful because in spite of all that has been hard, I have seen the beauty in the world around me and in the beauty of all of you. I will focus on the acts of kindness I have experienced from you and on the ways I can devote myself to acts of kindness for others.

We take so much for granted, even when we don’t mean to.

I think the key to a well-lived life is to focus on being grateful.

Recently on one of my sanity walks, I stopped looking at the “things” we walked past, and just looked up at the sky. I mean, how often do we give thanks for the sky? Sure we might notice a pretty sunrise or sunset, or maybe an interesting cloud formation, but what about the rest of the sky?

I just started thinking about the beautiful blue sky in the cool morning air. All I could see was the light blue, but beyond that, beyond my ability to see, is the expanse of the universe. That thin layer of atmosphere is what protects our planet from the harshness of space. It is what sustains our life. Yet another thing I normally just take for granted.

I guess I just felt like writing this, at a time when 2020 is getting me “down” and wanted to intentionally remember that this world is surrounding us all with so much to be grateful for. Don’t take ANY of it for granted.

Hug your family. Hug your friends. Go out and hug your neighbors (maybe a virtual hug for now). Hug your dog or cat. Go out and even hug a tree.

Go out for a walk and devote the entire walk to thinking about all the things you are grateful for. That is, if you can walk. Remember even the ability to walk is something to be grateful for. If you can’t walk, you still can find so much to be grateful for.

Once you LOSE one of those things you have taken for granted, you will be reminded once again, you have been blessed by so much more than you realized.

Just be grateful for it all.

Kevin Gourley

P.S. If the isolation of COVID-19 is getting you down, join our LifeInsights group! All are welcome and invited.

Kevin's book "30 Practical Tips for Better Photographs" is available in print and on Kindle devices!

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