Even in the throes of a global pandemic, it's possible to find things to be grateful for. In fact, I would argue that we are doing things and appreciating things that we really should have been doing and appreciating all along.
I'm sure everyone has their own list of things they're grateful for. Here's mine:
1. I'm grateful for private enterprise and American business. There is none better anywhere. Our news is filled with stories of companies such as Under Armour, Ford, GM, JoAnn Fabrics, My Pillow, and Vera Bradley that are pitching in to help make hospital gowns, ventilators and masks. According to the trade association Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, nearly 600 distilleries in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are making hand sanitizer. And then there are the countless smaller local businesses providing meals for students who cannot attend school, first responders, health care workers and others on the front line; making charitable donations; or just continuing to pay their employees as long as possible.
2. I'm grateful for factory employees, truckers, warehouse workers and all others instrumental to keeping the supply chain intact.
3. I'm grateful for our big-box stores, grocery stores and pharmacies that have stayed open, and for the employees who work there and have kept needed items in stock.
4. I'm grateful for the authors, artists, musicians, actors and other entertainers who are using all forms of media to perform for us, our families and our children as we "shelter in place" for what will likely be several weeks.
5. I'm grateful for the teachers, administrators and staff members -- especially the information technology professionals -- who have made it possible for our preschool, grade school, high school and college students to transition from live instruction to online learning.
6. I'm grateful for the incredible dedication of all our health care professionals, many of whom are working long hours day after day with little sleep, few resources and far too many terribly sick patients.
7. I'm grateful for our form of government -- a democratic republic -- and for federalism, which allows the smaller governments of our states and territories to respond to the unique challenges they face while our federal government coordinates national and international efforts.
8. I'm grateful for leaders who have the ability to make needed decisions in a crisis, and to pivot quickly as the most up-to-date information arrives.
9. I'm grateful for our Constitution. It hovers like a silent blessing over all of us. It ensures that our liberties will remain when this disease has run its course, and that the extraordinary measures now in place will no longer be needed.
10. I'm grateful for Western medicine, scientists, information and knowledge, and the technology that enables that information and knowledge to be more widely disseminated.
11. I'm grateful for social media and the technological innovations that enable us to remain connected even though we are separated.
12. I'm grateful for the fact that those of us inclined to call upon God in prayer need not feel embarrassed for doing so.
13. I'm grateful for charitable organizations that are working hard to meet the ongoing needs of the people they serve -- the poor; the homeless; those with disabilities or other unmet needs; veterans; single parents; orphaned children. When we are all needy, we can better appreciate those for whom illness, unemployment or isolation is not a temporary situation.
14. I'm grateful for the innumerable kindnesses of people too many to count across America -- and, indeed, across the world -- who are doing whatever they can for anyone they can as long as it is necessary.
It's often said that an "attitude of gratitude" makes for a happier life. Even -- perhaps especially -- in difficult times, it is important to remember that.