Image courtesy of Tremendousness
By Kat Kaderabek
At the conclusion of Lent, that which we have “given up” will suddenly become readily available to us. In other words, our period of suffering and temptation will have ceased. But there is a reason for “giving up” things in Lent and that is to keep our minds and hearts filled with gratitude. As we prepare for the ultimate sacrifice, we Catholics are asked to sacrifice as well in an effort to become more gracious ourselves. But this period of mindful gratitude does not need to stop at the end of the season, after Easter, or even at the end of the semester. There are things to be grateful for everyday. If there is one thing that coronavirus pandemic taught us, it is that we cannot take anything for granted anymore. It is time to be grateful for even the little things:
- The Sun Has Risen – In reference to Easter as well, this title could be amended to “the Son has risen” as well. Either way, something that we often take for granted has yet again occurred, and there is a beauty in that. Perhaps tomorrow will be the day to wake up early to sit and watch the sunrise, or gather with friends and family to take in the sunset. Every day is not a given, especially amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Celebrate seeing the sun.
- You can wear want you want – The free expression within the fashion industry has grown limitless, as does one’s wardrobe. It is much more acceptable in today’s society to be seen wearing a corset, or dying one’s hair vibrant colors. Piercings and tattoos have become more readily acceptable. In other words, people are more free to experiment with different looks and styles; the freedom to express oneself through appearance has never been stronger.
- You have access to clean drinking water – On a global scale, we are lucky enough to be living in a country that has access to clean drinking water not just for consumption, but for bathing, cooking, brushing our teeth, and even in our toilets. According to WaterAid, 785 million people do not have clean water close to home. In fact, every minute a newborn dies from infections due to unsafe water environments. This is something to be incredibly grateful for, as the state of the world’s clean water is rapidly declining with little solutions in sight. So be grateful every time you crack open that plastic water bottle, take a sip from the tap, or even shower.
- You have people surrounding you who love you – Not only do you have access to friends and family, but you are also integrated within the Catholic University community. There will always be someone to call, or lend a hand in times of struggle. But there are also people who are there to cheer you on in times of great achievement. Whether physically or through the phone, you are NEVER alone which is something to be grateful for every day.
- You are receiving a good education – The Liberal Arts curriculum at Catholic is strongly founded in our faith, but also in moral and ethical awareness that is compounded on by the University policies, staff, extracurriculars and community. You are fortunate to be receiving this education when so many people do not have access to such. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019 over 16.2 million persons ages 16-24 were not enrolled in school. While school can be challenging and stressful, there is something to be grateful regarding having access to programs and curriculums such as ours.
- There’s new music to listen to – Do you constantly crave the feeling of listening to a certain song for the first time all over again? There is so much music available to us out there, that you can relish every time you hear a new song. Turn on the radio, or plug into Pandora to discover something new as you work, drive, or lounge by the Basilica. This is a great way to practice mindfulness and gratitude for good music.
- There is a Chick-fil-A on campus – It’s important to be grateful for the little things as well as the big things. After a long, tiring day it is exciting to be able to treat yourself to a milkshake or some crispy nuggets. Savoring a meal in the lower pryz is a great way to practice mindfulness and gratitude. After all, you could be back in your middle school cafeteria and eating off of styrofoam plates.
- Classes will be in-person in the Fall – No more home zoom lessons or classmates living thousands of miles apart. With the majority of CUA students returning to school in the Fall, the University has taken the initial steps to a return to normalcy. Given the coronavirus pandemic was reaching a peak this time last year, a glimpse into the future of in-person classes is something to be well and truly grateful for. With the return of students comes the return of the vibrancy and soul of Catholic University.
- The cherry blossoms are blooming – You cannot ask for much more than a warm Spring breeze blowing blossom petals into your hair as you stroll along the Tidal Basin. A year ago, that would be impossible. Take a big whiff of their floral perfume and be mindful of the here and now. You only get so many cherry blossom seasons in D.C., it’s best to be grateful for this one, no matter how different it may look.
- We are in April, and Summer is practically here. Powering through the next few weeks will take much effort and self-care. Without a Spring Break, many students are feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. But there are only four more Mondays until school is over, summer begins, and students can take a deep breath.