CULTON: Count our blessings

This year, it has been exceedingly easy to count our hardships.

With the COVID-19 pandemic having taken over our world, we have lost a lot. We have lost our sense of safety, of normalcy. We have lost many of the things we love to do like going to the movie theater or sitting down for a nice dinner. We have lost connection to our friends and families. Some of us have even lost our jobs, our homes or a loved one to this terrible virus.

On top of that, a contentious election has divided many, and minority communities have suffered great injustices, opening deep wounds and leading to national unrest.

In many ways, we are all more divided and disconnected than ever before.

Suffice to say, 2020 has been a rough year — one of the worst in recent memory. This Thursday, as many of us spend the Thanksgiving holiday away from our families due to COVID-19 restrictions, it would be easy to simply list off all the hurts this year has caused us.

Instead, I would encourage everyone reading to do what is much harder — to count our blessings.

Despite all this year has thrown at us, we are all still here and living in wonderful, giving communities. There is certainly enough to be thankful for if we just look for it.

This month alone, Niles businesses teamed up to repair the roof of a man before he underwent brain surgery. A Cassopolis family came together to make and deliver Thanksgiving meals to those in need. The Dowagiac Rotary Club pledged to donate to the annual C. Wimberley Feed the Hungry Campaign.  Honor Credit Union celebrated the academic success of Edwardsburg students by donating to their school. And volunteers from all across southwest Michigan gave their time and effort to help area seniors during United Way’s Rake A Difference campaign.

That is just a sampling of the wonderful things that have happened in our communities in the past month — much less the entire year. Throughout this difficult year, people from across Michiana have worked hard to look on the bright side and help out others, creating something to be thankful for in a sea of hardships.

It’s easy to be negative, to focus on what the world has taken from us and refuses to give back. It’s so much harder to look on harsh times with a smile, to be grateful for everything we have, to be positive. Despite this, positivity and optimism are what make our communities special, a place where neighbors help neighbors.

So, this Thanksgiving, I encourage everyone to count your blessings, to find the good in this year and to generate a positivity that can shine through Michiana and make our community a better place.

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