This article has been on my heart for several months. It’s reflections from a compilation of conversations. Honestly, it’s been a hard year at times for most, if not all people. Interweaving this with Thanksgiving, there’s perhaps a variety of thoughts, perspectives, and feelings as we approach the holiday. It may be tempting to want to skip it and perhaps be easier to complain than find gratitude or feel thankful!
The challenges with COVID, markets, livestock harvesting facilities, trade, weather impacts to crops, online schooling and virtual meetings, societal and family tensions and divisiveness, the election, and many businesses and farm operations hurting financially added much stress to 2020. (Insert a deep breath after reading all that!).
With these above-mentioned challenges come the feelings and realities experienced. I’m so blessed with individuals’ trust through conversations and the vulnerability in sharing…conversations around mental wellness, stress, family and financial struggles…
So many hurting. So many conversations involving hurt, anger, regret. Common threads have included ‘just wanting to be seen’, ‘be heard’, ‘be appreciated’, ‘be useful’.
We often don’t know what’s going on in others’ lives. If you are struggling right now, please know you’re not alone and there is ALWAYS hope and help! Please do reach out to someone. It would be wise for us all to program the following in our cell phones: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255 and Rural Response Hotline: 800-464-0258.
This isn’t a direct quote but had recently read something along these lines: Why is it that we often wait till people’s funerals to share gratitude of how a person impacted us? Made me think.
For me, perhaps a blessing this year is a renewed realization of how quickly time passes and each day is not guaranteed. Been processing and praying through all this.
Who are the people who’ve positively impacted my life that I need to tell?
Who are the people in my life I tend to take for granted and don’t thank enough?
Who haven’t I connected with recently?
Who could benefit from intentional encouragement during life’s difficulties right now?
Perhaps questions others wish to consider?
We may never know how greatly a smile, kind words, a visit, a genuine ‘thank you’ can impact another person’s life, especially since we often don’t know the struggles others are experiencing. But these simple acts may just help someone in the midst of a dark or difficult time. They may also save a life.
Last November I mentioned there’s been a lot of research on gratitude. Harvard University shared, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.” Summarizing several studies I read, most would say finding a way to count one’s blessings or focusing on gratitude greatly improved a person’s sleep, health, attitude, focus, and relationships.
A simple way to start is to write out or send a text each day of 3-5 things for which you are grateful. If that’s hard, start with one! For example, what are the ordinary every day things we take for granted (ex. bed, food in pantry, vehicle, etc.)? I’ve found the written account helps me with remembering my blessings and is encouraging to re-read in the difficult times. And, over time, it becomes easier to find gratitude even in the things that go wrong! I’ve also found one of the best ways to help my heart when feeling down is to find a way to encourage someone else. Additional ideas for expressing gratitude, particularly for those with children, can be found at: https://go.unl.edu/q04v.
My hope and prayer in writing this is that we seek kindness, seek connection, choose to more intentionally seek gratitude, and share with others how they’ve positively impacted our lives. Also hoping something shared here helps if you find yourself struggling today. Wishing everyone a very blessed Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Food Resources: For your Thanksgiving meal check out https://food.unl.edu/article/thanksgiving-central for turkey preparation, food safety questions, recipes, and health/wellness topics!
For every difficult thing faced in life, because of my faith in God, I believe good can come. And, I’ve personally experienced good in my life. That doesn’t mean that being in the midst of difficulty isn’t hard or doesn’t stink-that’s just not real nor honest. I’ve thought about some good things we’re experiencing now in the midst of this virus. Families are spending more time together (even though that can also be challenging); technology allows people to stay connected and for distance teaching, meetings, worship services; there may be an increased appreciation of gathering together face to face when we’re allowed in larger groups again; there’s a surge of creativity and innovation in recreating/renovating business and in helping others; and, we may be tired of technology desiring more face to face interactions in the future!
This week I heard the term ‘physical distancing’. That sounds much better to me than ‘social distancing’. One good thing about technology is the ability to keep in touch. We can’t control many things that appear to be crashing around us, and we are all making choices as a result. One choice, in the midst of ‘physical distancing’ I’d encourage us to consider, is to continue being social in reaching out to family, friends, neighbors. That could be through various technologies or writing letters, sending gift boxes, etc. I believe we were created to live in community, not isolation. So please keep checking in with and reaching out to each other! There are also many resources for hope and help. No matter what you fear or face, you are never alone!-Jenny
#NebraskaStrong means having the strength to ask for help. Please keep talking and coming alongside each other!
- Nebraska Farm Hotline/Rural Response Hotline: 800-464-0258
- Nebraska Family Helpline: 888-866-8660
It’s been an interesting few weeks. Last week I was continuing to receive calls about considerations for drought damaged corn. Then southern rust arrived in the area earlier last week. Followed by the tremendous August 1 storm that affected so much of our County.
is how I’ve felt these past few days-and I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you whose crops were affected! It’s just a sickening feeling walking into field after field and driving around the County seeing the storm damage every day. I’m so sorry for those of you who have lost your crops! As I look at the crops, though, I’m a little puzzled at the way things are laying, the twisted plants….things aren’t all adding up for “straight-line winds”.
In spite of how difficult things look right now, I can’t help but wonder if we were spared from something much greater?
The follow passage in the Bible has been my go-to during times of drought and difficult times in farming. I was going to share this in a drought post…but I feel it still applies with as many partial and total crop losses we’ve experienced in the area.
Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Habukkuk 3:17-18
In the midst of trying to provide advice, it’s nice to know that God has everything already figured out and that He’s always in control. Even in the midst of this, He is always good!