Friday was my birthday. What was to be a big weekend for me was pretty much high-jacked by the coronavirus. But my husband, son, and daughter-in-love did gather for a little while to celebrate another year.

Which is more important than you might think because I’m one of the “at risk” population. See, I have two auto-immune diseases, both a clotting and a bleeding disorder, have had heart surgery, and survived five strokes so take daily blood thinners daily. Invisible disabilities affect the young, too.

While my family is practicing careful handwashing and not going out any more than absolutely necessary, celebrating my 51st birthday was necessary. Ten years ago we were told I wouldn’t live to see 45. My son was in middle school trying to pass math with a demanding and unyielding teacher while worrying if his mom would be alive when he got home. While I was hospitalized after my third stroke, my quiet son with exemplary behavior pulled the fire alarm in front of a teacher knowing he would be suspended for a week (his one and only suspension, ever) because he wanted to be at the hospital with me.

I tell you all this because, although the coronavirus is serious and we are being responsible, it is not a cause for panic or fear. I faced death a few times, and I know what that looks like and where my faith and eternity lie. I also know how very much I have to be grateful for!

So I challenge you to join me, not just in good handwashing and voluntary quarantine, but in gratitude and counting your blessings. A grateful heart (even one with a metal mesh patch in it) is the best way to combat panic and fear. I’ll start:

  • For the technology to interact with family,  friends, and colleagues when getting together isn’t advisable or even possible.
  • For the ability and freedom to worship whereever we are and whenever we want; we are not limited to a certain building on certain days of the week.
  • For brilliant medical professionals staying current on this virus (and all the other medical issues that will continue to affect us all) and best practices to keep most of us safe.
  • For so many with can-do attitudes and great sense of humor in the midst of challenges and unknown.
  • For random acts of kindness.
  • That I worship a Savior who is not surprised by any of this, and has already given us all we need to manage this current trial.
  • For so many amazing books and authors, and time to read, study, and learn.

“It has been said that life has treated me harshly; and sometimes I have complained in my heart because many pleasures of human experience have been withheld from me…if much has been denied me, much, very much, has been given me.”

~~ Helen Keller

Every year, I prayerfully choose a Bible verse and OneWord to meditate on and guide me. At the very end of 2019, I was convinced that 2 Timothy 1:7 and FEARLESS were what I needed to focus on. How grateful I am that I’ve had a couple months already of filling my heart and mind with that!

Now, your turn! Please share what you are grateful for in the comments. Then turn off the news and pick up a great book and spend your quarantine time experiencing new ideas and learning new things. And don’t forget to wash your hands.