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Resilience and Gratitude

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(transcript) I am grateful for technology that allows us to stay connected especially these days that we are confined at home. I want to start my conversation with you today by telling you a a little about myself. I was number four out of five children, grew up on a farm in Northern Minnesota near the Canadian border. Before leaving for school every morning we all had chores to do including milking cows, feeding turkeys, and hauling hay bales..

A defining memory of those formative years was my father’s farm accident. He suffered major trauma to his head, when he was run over by a tractor resulting in the loss of sight on one eye, and ability to hear only on one ear.

After a long recovery and being dependent on neighbors and friends, he was able to return to work full time on the farm. His resiliency was revealed in many ways including finding himself as an avid hunter back in the deer blind. When he was asked “how can you hunt with only one eye.”

He would grin and say, it's easier for me to focus now, “I don’t have to close the other eye. “

As I think back to that experience, I see how his humor revealed his ability to surrender to his losses.

My father’s world changed drastically , however, he was able to adapt and adjust. He acknowledged his losses and kept moving forward. As human beings. as part of our DNA, we have an inherent drive to recover and move forward. As Lutheran Christians our faith helps us be resilient.
Our understanding of baptism teaches us that since we are united to Christ in his death and resurrection we are also raised with him in new life.

I know that many of you have similar stories of when and where your faith gave you the ability to cope in the midst of things you didn’t comprehend or understand. That new life (our faith) gives courage and resilience to adapt and adjust to life circumstances, whatever they may be.

And being resilient doesn’t mean we have to grit and bear life’s difficulties by ourselves. Actually just the opposite—as members of the body of Christ….we are called to give and receive support to each other

Our COVID mission statement, No Gathering at the Church, but the Church Still Gathers captures what it means to be a resilient.

Covid-19 creates feelings of of stress, anxiety, and sadness.

And during these challenging times we need to take care of each other and that starts with taking care of ourselves How do we do that? Here are some things to consider.

-Pay attention to your feelings

-Name your losses, large or small

-Allow yourself to feel sadness and cry

-Allow yourself to process your feelings….talk it out, walk it out….write it out..LET IT OUT

-Stay connected with others…..physical distancing doesn’t mean social distancing

-Reach out…ask for help but also reach out and support others

-Consider keeping a journal

Recently my sister was discharged from the hospital after an emergency surgery. When she returned home she started writing down 2-3 things a day that she was grateful for.

Some days it was big things, other days it was simple things being grateful for a cup of coffee and or a telephone call from her granddaughter.

After keeping this journal for several weeks she soon realized that it was helping her feel less anxious and more centered. She also re-discovered was that her faith, family, and friends were ever so important.

So here is my gratitude challenge. Create a journal or simply write down on a piece of paper each day, two or three things (big and small) that you are grateful .

See what happens…..my hunch and hope is that you too find strength and insight for your journey.

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