Our family gratitude jar remains unlabeled on the table next to our front door. Make label: 2020 Gratitude Jar resides at the top of my endless To Do list. It will be named about five minutes before the big reveal, probably with a Post-it and Sharpie, which is basically a snapshot of how I’ve managed life for the past eleven months. I snuck a peek at the folded slips of paper, which my family finally acquiesced to doing, a few months ago because I was desperate for a glimmer of hope. 

As 2020 comes to an end, it’s no surprise that this has been one of the hardest years on record for most people. The pandemic brought challenges {insert here} that caught us off guard and interrupted our normal, which if we’re honest, will never be the same. After a month of quarantine and teaching virtually, I found myself falling into the cauldron of pessimism and struggling to climb the slippery slope back out. Attitude dictates outlook and my view had shape-shifted into what surrounded me: debilitating fear and oppressive negativity. My rose colored glasses had become overgrown with jagged thorns. Darkness was all I could see; the stars in my sky were obliterated and I found myself wandering aimlessly. 

The gratitude jar saved me.

Now I look at this past year and see the goodness of God very clearly. His provision and promises are a beacon lighting my way. I refuse to let the wonders of this year be buried in the coffin with the awful. I want to remember the sparkles in the blackness. 

We paid off our newest car and now have no car payments. 

Our 1995 and 1998 cars still start (sometimes with help), but they remain drivable.

We paid off our daughter’s 2022 orchestra trip to Europe which has been rescheduled twice.

I completed six graduate classes while teaching full time.

I graduated with my Masters of Fine Arts in Writing degree.

I received a salary increase.

I published my first piece of writing. 

I launched a project for students to publish their writing. 

The interest on our school loans paused and the payments went directly to decrease the balance. 

Our son found a full time job.

Our son made his penultimate payment for school and will finish his degree a year early.

Our sixty year old house required no costly repairs and even received a few updates.

We gave more this year than ever before.

We had more family time than recent years. (Truly amazing with a twenty-something and teenager.)

We are healthy.

I challenge you to make a list of all of the good things {insert here} that have happened to, for, and through you and your family this year. You will find much to be grateful for. Dwelling on the goodness definitely doesn’t negate the hard times and challenges that we have faced, but it does make the good shine brighter than the grim.

Nobody will forget the harshness of 2020; remembering the positive will be an arduous task if we aren’t deliberate.

Hard things help us grow and change. 

And in the future when life sucks again, because we all know that’s inevitable; I’ll dig around for the recycled pickle jar that once held our gratitudes and find hope in recalling all that God did for us during the year of 2020, my year of gratitude.

4 Thoughts to “2020: A Year of Gratitude”

  1. Rita Bub

    Wonderfully written. I am amazed and incredibly proud of you.

    1. Thank you! Your kind words mean so much to me.

  2. Theresa Rose

    My sweet friend, this writing brought tears to my eyes. You are so talented. Thank you for sharing your gift, heart and love with the world. I can’t wait to see how this venue flourishes and gows many people.
    Much love to you!

  3. Jill Steeley

    So glad to have found your website. Nice post, Jennifer

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