More than ever before, I’ve been finding that it’s been difficult not to let my fears and disappointments rule over my positivity and gratitude. This pandemic has been completely draining at times emotionally, mentally, and physically. Even if you aren’t an essential worker, we all know someone who is, or are at least familiar with their stories.

Social media has been flooded with the effects of this current situation, both good and bad. Yet, honesty, compassion, generosity, kindness, and grace have proved to be stronger than this virus. Watching and listening to people going out of their way for the love and support of others has spotlighted my gratitude for all things and has allowed me to stay strong for those I love while upholding others on difficult days.

In reality, not everyone is able to stay home right now, and not every essential worker has the comfort of returning home each night. My son is one of those individuals. As he continues to serve in the U.S. Navy across the country, staying home means staying on his ship, and self-isolation means not having the support of people that love him nearby. He is the reason I stay home. He is the reason I self-isolate. He is also the reason I stay positive. 

When I’m feeling down about not being able to have dinner with friends or to grab a cup of coffee with a girlfriend, I think of him. I think about all his unknowns, when he will be deploying, where he will go, will he be able to get off the ship, and how long before he is able to return home to us. 

I hear his loneliness over the phone through exhausted tones and uncertainty in his voice. He needs to know that everything will be OK. My job to reassure him of that truth. Keeping him focused on where to look for gratitude motivates me to do the same. Life can be hard, and for most, this time is a difficult one, but there is always something to be thankful for, even if it’s a brief phone conversation with someone you love and miss or serving your country to keep others safe.

I’ve learned during this time that what we seek in life is how we will live it. It’s where we will find solace. If we seek out gratitude and joy every day, we will find gratitude and joy even in the long and hard days. 

My son inspires me to remember that we hold the power to uplift and inspire those around us. Positivity is contagious, and is driven by gratitude.

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