In the military, you get used to changing and changing uniforms, changing duty stations, changing friends, changing your orders, and having your orders changed.  In the Navy, my tour of duty was often 18 months in one place, and then I would receive orders to my next duty station.

In 2020, we were part of a change experience none of us thought possible.  Due to a deadly virus, with the name of COVID-19, our lives became a roller coaster of on-again, off-again requirements to protect each other’s health.  So, in essence, it’s similar to military service, where what we do every day matters to our shipmates, our family, and our country’s safety and security.

With Arizona’s rapid vaccination distribution, the possibility to share in human connectivity again may be just around the corner. But before we make that leap, I’d like to do what I often did before a change in my tour of duty.  Spend time reflecting on what this past year or so has meant to me.

Speaking with our partners at Bank of America, whose ardent support for veterans and the military goes back more than 100 years,  reminded me how vital reflection could be.  Our conversation waded into giving thanks.

This conversation came about as we discussed the realities of hosting a Veterans Day Parade on November 11th this year.  Our beloved parade was something we had to forego last year due to COVID.  Trisha Constas, Bank of America’s community relations manager, was gracious in extending the good news that regardless of what shape the parade takes, Bank of America’s support will be there. “For a year, many aspects of our lives slowed down,” she said. “2020 has taught us so much, and in some ways, less became more. We are blessed to be at this point today—looking forward and bringing with us this renewed gratitude for the things in our lives that have taken on new meaning. The time we’ve been able to spend connecting with our families and other basic human connections; a renewed focus on our health; and the importance and value of the work we do together.”

When we took a look at what the changes in 2020 gave to us, and in doing so, we discovered we were glad for many things:

  • Happy that we are still here safely and yet sorrowful for those whose lives are now forever changed by COVID.
  • Thankful for our ability to adapt and keep in touch by learning new technologies like Zoom, Teams, WebEx, and many more.
  • Appreciative of the time we were able to spend at home rather than commuting in traffic.
  • Grateful we live in a time when technology could help create a vaccine in record time to help fight this deadly disease.

And yet, we are keenly aware that many others continue to carry heavy burdens generated by this past year’s events.

Trisha’s comments made me think about the importance of gratitude.  No one is saying it was easy. It wasn’t and won’t be for some time.  But all in all, the change of duty did teach us some things.  How about you?  Is there something you’re feeling grateful for as we head “back to normal”?  Let us know.  You can comment on our blog at www.paulapedene.com


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