I hope more than anything that as you read this, you find yourself in good health and with hope that tomorrow will be better than whatever you are dealing with today.

I have come to the realization that just because January 1, 2021, came, nothing has changed. We are still living in the midst of a global pandemic, with political and social tensions prominent in our everyday lives. Not too long ago, the darkness of winter loomed above us. Our world can be tainted, depressing, and lonely. Did you know that winter tends to have the highest suicide rates because our bodies do not have the same serotonin levels that they do during the summer time? My point in telling you this is to remind you that it is okay to be sad or to feel empty during this time. It is normal.

Anyway, I guess that is a little different than how I normally start these articles. My heart has been heavy with burdens lately. Yet, somehow, I still feel a sense of joy when I look at the little things. Last month, I was driving home from work one evening after a particularly rough snow storm. The roads were covered in ice and snow. It took me almost an hour to make a twenty-minute drive. On the way home, I was listening to my favorite worship songs, and my heart was open to what God was saying to me. I have always been the type of person to share when I feel like God is talking to me, and this time was no exception. So, here it is:

I have always hated driving in the snow. It is dangerous, scary, and oftentimes makes me incredibly anxious. Some might say that I am far too cautious. I barely exceed 25 miles per hour, no matter how much snow there is. I complain about how awful it is to my parents, friends, and boyfriend. However, this time was different. As I was driving home, I noticed how beautiful the snow looked. It glistened in the moonlight and looked so soft and pure. I realized, in that moment, that oftentimes I am so worried about how dangerous the snow looks, I do not take the time to recognize how beautiful the snow is. I do not admire its purity or the way that it covers the trees and fences, crafting a perfect winter wonderland. But the truth is, I do this in my everyday life too.

More often than not, I am so busy complaining about how hard it is to be a Christian, how exhausting it is being a student with extra curriculars and a job, and how difficult it is to be the oldest child. So, I often fail to find the goodness in all of those things. No matter how hard it is to endure the trials, I am beyond lucky to live in a country where I can freely express myself. Despite the exhaustingly long days filled with Student Council meetings, eight hours of school, and then a five-hour work shifts, I am so fortunate that I have those things to keep me busy. At the end of the day, it is worth it. I work for an amazing company. I have the BEST teachers, and my classmates always make school interesting. No matter how much I despise being the oldest, having a big family is one of the greatest gifts ever. I have five built-in best friends and two incredible parents. These things make me who I am, and until I can find the beauty in those things, I will not be able to find beauty in myself.

In the world we live in, it is so easy to find things to complain about. Not only that, but it is even easier to miss the beauty in this craziness we call life. 2021 has already been a rollercoaster. But, Hope, Indiana, is so fortunate. Remember to find the good in today. Be reminded that everything holds its own type of beauty, and it is so significant to find it. The best and easiest way to make an impact is to be positive. When we stop and take a moment to admire the glorious miracles of every day, then appreciating what we have, rather than complaining about what we don’t have, becomes a natural instinct.