• Heidi J. Smith

Cultivating Gratitude

Updated: May 5, 2020

"Gratitude turns what we have into enough." Melody Beattie


I recently read Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Hard Winter to my son. It reminded me how fortunate I am. The following is taken from pages 242-243.

Another blizzard roared outside the house as Laura shivered and sat up in bed. When will the blizzards stop? I'm weary of being cooped up inside, grinding wheat, and twisting hay.

Sighing, she dressed and plodded to the kitchen.

"I am so tired of brown bread with nothing on it," Laura said.

"Don't complain, Laura!" Ma told her quickly. "Never complain of what you have. Always remember you are fortunate to have it."

Mrs. Ingalls uttered these words during a hard winter in the late 1800s.

Their family almost starved to death as blizzards lingered long over the prairie and stopped the supply train. They survived by gratitude, ingenuity, and the Lord's grace.

As COVID-19 lingers over our lives, we wonder how long it will last.

When will hair salons, swimming pools, and schools be open? How long will social distancing and face masks be required? When will life be normal?

Many situations overwhelm and frustrate us. But what if we stopped complaining and starting being thankful for what we do have.

  • I can't meet friends, but I can use social media to connect on my phone, computer, or i-pad.

  • I can't eat in a restaurant, but I can order take-out, or preorder groceries online. Then I hop in my mini van, pick up my food, and eat in my cozy home.

  • I don't have toilet paper, but I do have indoor bathrooms and running water.

  • Since my kids don't have school, my grocery bill sky rockets and our house looks like a tornado! But we have plenty of food, growing kids, and a home.

  • Since activities are canceled, we have more family time.

  • I can't............., but I can......

As I shift my perspective, complaining turns to gratitude.

What COVID situation bothers you? How will you choose to be thankful for what you have? Please share.

Mrs. Ingalls challenged Laura to count her blessings. We would be wise to heed her advice. Let's remember to "be fortunate for what we have" and cultivate gratitude.

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Heidi J. Smith