Aspirations by Alison: Gratitude in These Times

My family adopted a daily gratitude practice at a time when we were struggling, not because we felt very grateful, but because we had learned about the mental-health benefits that come from focusing daily on what is good in our lives. In the years we’ve been practicing gratitude together, I’ve found that there is always something to be grateful for, even if it’s just the dinner we’re having as we share our gratitudes.

I am grateful we can eat home-grown greens. I’m grateful for the big rain that means no more fires for now. I’m grateful for our home, our family, TV that makes me laugh. When I pay attention, I find gratitude everywhere I look, even if it coexists with deep sadness, pain or anxiety.

These days, I’m grateful for the technology that keeps us connected when we’re physically distant, for the people who wear their masks to keep friends and strangers safe, for the opportunity to work from home, for the innovations we’ve made as we figure out how to cope with the pandemic–like the collaboration between our Unitarian Universalist congregations across southern Oregon that has allowed me to minister to all three together, since we’re all doing most everything online anyway.

My gratitude and my faith inspire me to work for a world in which the things that I am so grateful for are available to anyone, from the basics like food and shelter, to the ability to stay home to stay safe from the pandemic.

–Alison Duren-Sutherland, Intern Minister