Good Morning! I gave myself a hair cut for the occasion. I’ll take it on faith that at least one person laughed at that. Has anyone else watched the late shows and laughed at a joke and wondered why no one else was laughing? It’s a totally different experience when there is no live audience agreeing with me.

I wanted to talk today about conflicting feelings and emotions and choosing to change our attitudes and perceptions. When this quarantine and new way of life began I found myself planning to paint the furniture in my son’s room, clean all the closets, organize all of my art supplies – basically become a super home maker, interior designer, employee, mom, teacher. It took a while to realize that these were unrealistic expectations. That surviving this time was going to have to be good enough. That my success was not going to be measured by my productivity but by my ability to persevere. The best way I know to thrive in difficult situations is to focus on gratitude and my attitude. This does not always come easily. It requires a daily practice of choosing to focus on the good. Despite restrictions I still have choices. Instead of thinking of quarantine as a punishment I can choose to focus on the ways that it’s a gift. I get to spend time where I’ve made a space that I like. I get to spend time with my child that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. I get to eat ice cream everyday. That’s a relatively new quarantine gift. We need the Talenti containers for Legos.

Another thing that has really helped is leaning into my faith. I believe in a higher power. And like a true UU I will tell you her pronouns are she/her/hers. I started praying for courage, grace, patience. They aren’t complicated prayers. ‘Please be with me today.’, ‘You got this, right? Cuz I don’t go this.’ I think of myself as seeing one little piece of a giant puzzle. My higher power can see the rest. I have faith that She will provide me with opportunities that my humble human mind could never imagine. And I try to remember that it’s in Her time, not mine. When I slow down and really look I can see Her gifts everywhere.

Gratitude is always a helpful tool and that is especially true now. I find myself making gratitude lists and they really help. Some of the the things on my list include being a part of a pod that is providing child care and emotional support for me and my child so I can keep my job. I met someone really special and am developing an intimate relationship second to none that I wouldn’t have believed possible in March. My enduring friendships that can withstand major life events like this. I’m honing skills like trusting on a deeper level and asking for help.

So my challenge to you today is to take an irritation, a persistent problem, a struggle and turn it on its head. Is there a way you can look at the gift in it. If you change your attitude does it change? If you change your perspective is it more manageable? What can you learn from it?

Thanks for listening and taking the time to come this morning.

Danielle England