Gratitude Series Part V

Just a reminder - these are past posts from social media. I am behind in finishing this series, but this is the final one and soon I will move on to my backlog of Spain posts.

On day 6 of the lockdown here in Spain I started a gratitude series on social media. I would like to share it here, too, as some of you are not on social media. I will post eight days or so at a time until day 50. All of these gratitude posts are from during the strictest quarantine measures in Spain over March and April 2020. At the end of each post I will include some links to favorite recipes I have made recently. 

Day 41: I’m grateful for celebrations. Today I tried a new, delicious recipe for basque-style codfish stew. We made brownies. This afternoon we will play games. We are having a party because...WE CAN TAKE OUR KIDS OUT TOMORROW!! We are super excited. We even saw someone putting caution tape around the playground in the park across the street, so we are hoping that the park will reopen but with the playground off limits. How crazy is it that we are excited about a playground being blocked off so we can use the park? It’s funny how my perspective shifts to be thankful for little, separate things. As in, being allowed out is wonderful. Being able to go in the park is even more wonderful.

Day 42: I’m grateful for freedom. I supposed it’s not guaranteed in life, is it? Depending on where you are born, what time of history you live in, the color of your skin, your gender...freedom is not a given. This quarantine has been a tiny taste of what it’s like to lose part of my freedom. And it makes me want to fight for those who have lived all or most of their lives without basic freedoms. I’m eager to see what volunteer/work opportunities are in my future to help the oppressed. But for today, the freedom to run and play, the freedom to be outside, and the freedom to put my bare feet in the sand made my heart soar.

Day 43: I’m thankful for the reminder that I am small. What I identify as my problems or inconveniences are so small compared to the problems in the world. I take comfort in the fact that I am not in charge, but I know the One who is. Even when things don’t make sense, even when things seem out of control, I know that God is in control. Colossians 1:17 says “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Day 44: I am thankful for my home church, City Harbor Church. They are a true family, and I’m thankful for the ways I have been able to stay in touch with them. Pastor Ben brings sermons that are true, uplifting, challenging, and go deep in the text. Pastor Rebecca is a spiritual mother to many, including myself, and an amazing leader. And all of the wonderful people who make up the congregation are unique, loving, friendly, funny, wise...I could go on. You get the idea. I just listened to this week’s sermon on Ephesians, one of my favorite books. “It is God who does the heavy lifting, it is God who gives us the ability that we wouldn’t have in and of ourselves.” -Pastor Ben Malmin

Day 45: (This should have been posted yesterday). I’m thankful for my other church, IglesiaNext. They have been so welcoming and loving to us from day one. They truly are our home away from home. Specifically, I am thankful for my connection group, Apasionados por Jesús. These women have been a lifeline to me with our weekly meetings (now vía Zoom). They have inspired and encouraged me to grow in my faith. Thank you!

Day 46: This may sound strange, but I’m grateful for the grieving process. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. Not always in that order. Yesterday I finally accepted that schools will not reopen in Spain. I had held out hope all this time that they would open for at least a month in the end. But yesterday as I read the plan of reopening the country in phases, schools were slated to reopen in September. I was so sad. Sad for the opportunity for my girls to go to school here cut short, sad for my loss of free time (read: my time to introvert) and just plain sad for things being so strange. I cried piteously for a bit, prayed, praised God, and moved on. Even though I’m still not content with what was taken away from us, I can be content with what we have. And what do we have? A beautiful apartment, outside time every day, sunshine, good food, love. What’s more, Evelyn and Lydia were accepted into the Baltimore International Academy Spanish immersion program for next year. So even though their schooling abroad will end, their Spanish learning will not.

Day 47: I’m grateful for goals. Next year my kids will be in school. I’m not ready to get a job because I don’t know where I want to work. Instead, I am so excited to pursue volunteering with refugees and becoming a foster family. I can’t wait to get started.

Day 48: I’m grateful for a little rule breaking. This lockdown has felt draconian, and honestly, while I support protecting the vulnerable, I disagree with how it’s being done. We are thankful the kids can go out now, but are disappointed that swimming is not allowed at the beach. And yesterday a police officer told Justin at the beach that he and the girls couldn’t stay in one spot, because “people might congregate around him,” but that instead, they were supposed to keep moving. Took a picture of his passport and everything. Well, today I took the girls, and guess what? People were hanging out in their spots on the sand or near the water. Some kids were even playing in the water! My kids hiked up their shorts and plunged on in. I couldn’t stop them. Nor did I want to.

Day 49: I’m grateful to be back at my “gym.” A morning run/walk is such a beautiful way to start the day. Things aren’t completely back to normal yet, but they are getting there.

Day 50: I’m grateful for all of you who have encouraged me along on this journey of gratitude. During this time, the important things in life have become clear and vivid, and the less important things have faded into the background. Some of my beliefs and my faith have crystallized to be very clear. Some days it was easy; others it was not. Some days I didn’t feel like posting anything. But I am grateful for the ways you have blessed me, and I hope I have been able to be a blessing to you as well. This will be my last post in this gratitude series. Thank you all.

And that's it for this series! Be back soon with more Spain adventures and recipes.