Blessings often come in disguise, don’t they? As we near Thanksgiving, I always get a little bit nostalgic and intentionally reflect upon my greatest blessings. The gift of my husband, my children, my parents, my pain in the butt sister, my home, you know all the obvious blessings God has given to me. However, blessings are not always so obvious…are they?
This year my family is dealing with the COVID virus. We are blessed to have my parents living in an apartment in our home and about two weeks ago they began to fall ill with symptoms of this crazy virus. Then, one by one, those in our home began to fall victim to COVID. Each of us have seemed to have different symptoms, but thankfully, none of us have ended up in desperate need of medical attention. In North Dakota right now there is extraordinarily little room in our hospitals, so we would like to avoid taking up residence in one of those, if possible. That, in and of itself, has allowed this family to be very thankful. We are quite aware that there are people who have not made it through this virus as easily as we are. Though it has not been easy, we are fairing better than others. Our prayers are with those who are not fairing so well.
For me, I had an incredibly terrible headache, and I lost all sense of taste and smell. I have read many nay-sayers claim that people have been losing taste and smell forever with colds, and though that is true, this loss is different. It lasts for a long time and it is eerie. In the past, when I have fallen prey to the loss of smell and taste, I could still smell strong smells such as lemons and coffee…this time I smell and taste NOTHING. My morning cup of joe, is quite pathetic now! If there was a fire, I could not smell that. I am the one charged with changing the dirty diapers right now, which is only fair, but others have to let me know that the diaper is dirty, because you guessed it, I cannot smell it. I baked cookies with the kids and could not smell them baking…NO FAIR!!!
In some of my down time, I have been catching up on some feel-good news stories. One of them was written about one of my dear priest friends who was the first priest in my local diocese to be diagnosed with COVID-19. He went through it in July and since has been using his diagnosis to assist others. Since he has had it he goes to our nursing homes and prays with and anoints those who have COVID and are unable to see their own family members. I was filled with much pride when I read this article, but the article went on to talk about his symptoms. He did not loose his smell or taste, but he smelled only fish…yes, fish! Even his soap smelled like fish! After reading this I was ever so thankful for my loss of smell and taste. I sent him a text message immediately that said: “Your article brought great joy to my heart. I was sad that I couldn’t smell or taste, but now I am thankful that I do not smell fish!” It’s the little things, right!
As we prepare to enter into the holiday season of one of the craziest years of my life, I truly plan to enjoy the little things, the moments that in the past, I likely took for granted. I wish that I would not have taken last Thanksgiving or Christmas for granted, as it looks like this year, I will not be able to gather with my larger extended family. I wish I would have treasured the conversations had with my cousins a bit more and been more attentive the needs of them and their families. I wish I would have enjoyed that bite of my mom’s amazing stuffing and that delicious pumpkin cream pie. I wish I would have enjoyed the competition of my sister in the family board game that I am sure I won!
This year folks may we truly be thankful for the little things, not just the big things. As we gather with those, we can, I challenge us all to be thankful for each moment gathered together, even the moments where we argue about who is the better card player or if the Vikings are better than the Packers. (We all know the answer is the Vikings!) Let us be thankful that we do not smell the fish!