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Yesterday I received another disappointment–an email canceling the last in a long string of events I planned to attend this year. Same for you? Only a family Christmas gathering was left. Then my daughter called in tears to let me know her husband could not travel out of state for Christmas without a two week unpaid quarantine when they returned. Add that plan to the trash pile of the spring road trip, high school reunion, writers conferences and meetings, birthday celebrations, long weekend at the beach.

Switch to the wider focus, and I see rising death tolls, economic calamity, political turmoil, and social divisions and chaos. It’s hard to see the tunnel, much less the light at the end of it.

Amazon sells a planner ideal for 2020: the Perpetual Disappointments Diary.

What can prop you up, when thing are falling all around?

#1: Choose what to focus on.

Avoiding the news isn’t necessarily keeping your head in the sand. It is often a step of self-care. Pick out some favorite music, and tackle a messy drawer. Create some order in the chaos around you.

Look for possibilities instead of limitations. One friend has tackled some international menus for dinner, and chosen an appropriate movie for virtual getaways to foreign lands. Remember that project you wished you had time for last year? Now you do! If you’re a writer, check out my blog series–four posts–on story inspirations.

#2: Choose a different perspective.

Many people are out of work, and struggling financially. If that’s not you, be thankful. Workers in essential services risk more exposure to illness. If that’s not you, spend a few minutes on gratitude. In fact, a gratitude journal makes more sense in hard times than good. I’m thankful for the technology that lets me see family members and friend I miss. I’m thankful for food banks and caring neighbors.

I’m thankful I can be a caring neighbor. Instead of the needs I have, I can look for needs to meet.

#3: Choose to stay in touch.

My sisters live in different states, and our brother is in a city hard-hit with Covid-19. We would normally meet for a long weekend together sometime during the year, but not this year. Instead, we have a cup of coffee together every Saturday morning, via Facebook Messenger’s video chat.

Everybody is under pressure, with higher anxieties, and problems we haven’t faced before. A half-hour of friendly, supportive conversation can be a great reminder of what is right with the world.

#4: Choose to keep the faith.

Life during the Covid-19 pandemic feels something like Job in the Bible, whose life circumstances went off the rails in a spectacular way. Job is often remembered for having patience, but the story is really one of his enduring faith. Suffering is part of the human condition, and Job had a big dose of it.

But Job chose to trust in God. He knew the story wasn’t over. Our story isn’t over either. If your spiritual roots have grown weak, water them with prayer, feed them with Scripture. YouVersion will deliver a Bible verse a day by email free.

On the other hand, if you want to dwell on the disappointments of 2020, you can always buy that planner from Amazon. and enjoy the inspirational quotes like “Crappe diem” and “No brain, no gain.”