Greetings Missouri Community Action Network,
It's been a pandemic-altered life for all of us this year, but we adapted and, more importantly, persisted. We recently demonstrated our persistence by observing the Thanksgiving holiday, even though it was likely very different for many of us. I know loved ones were missing from our tables because we needed to adapt, keeping our circles safe and small, or, for some, because they lost their fight with the virus. It hurts my heart to consider the scope of loss that so many have endured.
Regardless of what we’ve experienced, gratitude lives within us, and I knew I’d find it if I just asked. I wanted to share with you what some of the Missouri CAN team said they are grateful for at the end of this truly difficult year.
Gwen Billinger: “I’m thankful for the strength, resilience and just plain goodness that so many people have exhibited under this time of difficult and trying circumstances. When it most matters, it seems often that stress brings out the best in the best.”
Becky Britton: “I am really thankful for my family: my sister who baked a pecan pie for me to take to Elaine [West] because that is her favorite, my sister who just drops by to bring me lunch on a random day, my kids who come over to make supper for me (us) just because, and my grandkids who make me beautiful artwork and give great big hugs when they run into the house to visit. All of these little things and many more just make me appreciate all of them so much.”
Andrea Davis: “I am thankful for the opportunity 2020 has provided me to re-evaluate and re-commit to the things in my life that are most important.”
Sarah Hackman: “Life is a dance of sorrow and joy. So, despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic for my immediate family, I'm grateful for renewed perspective and life balance, including quality time with my husband, intentional rest, and other personal priorities.”
Evan Melkersman: “2020 started off as a very difficult year due to the loss of my mother-in-law. Throw in COVID, and one would struggle to find something they are thankful for. If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s to not take things for granted. The year is ending much better than it started. My husband, who I am most grateful for, and I have begun to realize our dream of raising a family. We are in the process of adopting fraternal twin boys. They’ve taught me to stop and appreciate the more minute things in life. Life is finite, but family and love are infinite.”
Erica Monson: “I am grateful for being able to work for a Network that is making a difference in people’s lives, especially during these tough times of a pandemic.”
Amy Thrash: “The people in my life who put a smile on my face (smiling with the mask), support me and bring me so much joy. I have always been a thankful and grateful person, but this year has taught me that I don’t take family and friends and work for granted. The FaceTime calls, phone calls, Zoom calls and texts give me so much happiness, laughter, and some tears. I am thankful for the strength this year has given me that I didn’t know I had. It has given me a new outlook on life, and I will never take for granted of what I have been blessed with.”
And when my family shared around our table on Thanksgiving Day at my house, I said how grateful I am for my family’s continued health, for being able to work and keep doing my job during such uncertain times, and for the amazing love and support I receive from my family both at home in Kentucky and from those who I now consider my work family here in Missouri.
As you read through the responses for what brings us joy and makes us feel grateful here at Missouri CAN, there are evident themes—2020 has, for all its faults, actually helped pull into focus those people and intangible aspects of life that are important for so many of us, and given us a chance to renew, recommit, and find gratitude and pleasure in what is genuinely meaningful.
According to the internet, Jeffrey Burton Russell, American historian and religious studies scholar, said: “every sign of gratitude is a sign of hope.” What a perfect description of how I felt when I heard back from the Missouri CAN staff—hopeful. Through all of the difficulties we’ve faced, we’ve each found much for which to be thankful.
May these small signs of gratitude be a sign of hope to you as well as we collectively embark on the holiday season and turn over our calendars to 2021. Wishing you, as part of our Community Action family, a safe, healthy, and blessed December and glad tidings in the New Year.