By Joyanna Ratcliff  |  May 15, 2020

“This isn't how I thought this week would be,” I thought, somewhat grumpily, as I folded my laundry and prepared for bed one night. My spring vacation had just begun, and my dad, brother and I had planned to go to Hawaii for the week. Then COVID-19 started to spread from Asia, and Washington was one of the worst hit states in America. We began to talk of cancelling our trip to Hawaii, because my dad was concerned that the president may issue a domestic flight ban when we were gone, and we would be stranded. A week before we were supposed to leave, we decided that it would not be wise because we might unknowingly transfer the virus to other people or become sick ourselves. We changed our plans to camping at the Washington coast instead. A few days later we heard that visitor centers, roads, and campgrounds in the national park were closing. We sadly determined that we could not go camping, so we stayed home and did some hiking nearby. 

One day we were hiking up a steep trail that went to the top of the ridge that overlooked both the nearby town of Leavenworth and Tumwater canyon. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and we could hear and see a variety of species of birds singing. We greeted a few hikers as we passed them. One hiker commented as he passed, "this is social distancing at its best!" I started thinking about that. I am blessed, even though my family and I didn't get to go to Hawaii, and I can't see the species of bird that I've wanted to see since third grade. I have a home, family that love me, friends that seem like family, and none of my family or friends have gotten the coronavirus. I have two choices: I can be grouchy and upset that I cannot go to Hawaii, see my friends, have a piano lesson, or even go to church, or I can find things to be thankful for. Sometimes it seems easier to find things that I am sad or upset about, but if I look for them, I can always find many things to be thankful for. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul said, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He didn’t tell us to be thankful for all things, but to give thanks in all things. In other words, I don’t have to be thankful that I can’t go to Hawaii, but even though I can’t go, I can find things to be thankful for.

I can be upset that I can't have things that I expected, or I can be thankful for the many things that I do have.

What do you have to be thankful for?


Joyanna Ratcliff is a high school student who enjoys reading, sewing, and playing the piano; she also helps coordinate music for the Cashmere SDA Church.  When she has an opportunity, Joyanna loves birding and hiking in the nearby Cascades.