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  • Jolene Roehlkepartain

Despite It All…I’m Grateful

Despite the countless, insurmountable challenges of this year, I’m grateful.


Because beauty, wonder, and joy still exist. Even if those things can be hard to see and experience on a daily basis.

With this difficult year, I needed to find intentional ways to care for my mental and physical health. Many have talked about the power of naming three things you’re grateful for each day. It’s a practice that helps you notice, that pulls you out of the sludge and sorrow. It’s a reminder that life always is a mix of suffering and satisfaction.

I started with a blank slate, a round, orange pumpkin. Each day, I wrote three things I was grateful for.

At first, I had to stretch myself—a lot. My mind told me that it would be easier to fill up a pumpkin immediately with all my worries, fears, sorrows, and anger. I imagined painting the pumpkin black and adding all these upsetting things in gray.

But I resisted.

Each day, I paid attention. To sunrises. Giggles I overheard outside by the children in our neighborhood. My purring cat. Delicious food. Meaning conversations with people over Zoom. Little by little, I saw bits of beauty and wonder.

I added these items to my pumpkin.

And I was grateful.

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