Hidden Blessings

What were you thankful for in 2020? That you survived it? Covid-19 sure gave us a challenge; it still does.

Did you learn something while having to stay home, hopefully something positive? Did relationships become stronger in the home? There’s been a lot of talk about failed marriages and an increased need for counseling, but for most I believe we became closer with those we care about the most. Spouses learned to work together while working at home. Parents learned how to help their children in school, since classes were mostly online. I wonder if strong marriages didn’t become stronger and loving families even more loving towards each other. Perhaps life wasn’t so easy and you struggled more than you felt you could bear, but if you survived even this pain, perhaps you learned something new about yourself – your ability to persevere, strengths you didn’t realize you had.

Did you do something new – a new project? How did that feel? I know someone who published her first book and another person who made a one-of-a-kind table for his family, a large one, because he’s maintaining hope of having big family gatherings at his home. Even if you accomplished no large feat, did you check something off your to-do list that you hadn’t been able to complete for quite a while?

Did you learn something new about yourself? Did you accomplish something that might not have been possible if you had not had more time at home? Did you expect blessings hidden in such a huge problem as Covid-19?

Eddie Jaku learned a lesson he said he will never forget – happiness. Eddie Jaku was born as Abraham Yakubowicz and grew up in Hitler’s Germany. Coming home from school, he found his home empty, his parents and sister gone. He slept alone that night with his dog by his side, but at 5am was awaken by ten German soldiers. He described his life after that as a series of indescribable horrors, going from camp to camp until finally escaping and then being rescued by Allied troops at the end of World War II. He traveled to Belgium, married and started his family, and at that time decided that he would do what he could to make the world a better place. He promised himself that for the rest of his life, he would “be happy, smile, be polite, helpful and kind.” He decided to be happy regardless of his circumstances – to be the happiest man on earth. “One flower is my garden; one good friend is my world…. Happiness does not fall from the sky; it’s in your hands.”[1]

Whatever you did or didn’t do, set one goal for 2021 – don’t lose hope. Thank God for the many blessings He gives us, sometimes ones that are hidden in the midst of huge problems. Thank Him for the promise of new grace and new mercy not only at the beginning of every new year but also at the beginning of every new day. And then choose happiness. Plant a flower. Find or make a friend. Or plant many flowers and find many friends. You cannot change what has happened and possibly not what will happen, but you can choose how you respond to whatever happens. Choose hope. Choose happiness. It’s in your hands.

[1] At 99 years of age, Eddie tells his story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scCvi3vY4jQ

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