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Counting Your 2020 Blessings: How An Open Heart can Bring Warmth to a Dark Time

Written by Marcella Hornyak


Posted on December 22 2020

Edited by: Julia Giordano

I went into 2020 thinking that this would be the year that I got everything I wanted, but now I look at it as the year that helped me to appreciate everything I have. It’s impossible to deny that this has been an extremely hard year for us all, and unfortunately we’re still not out of the woods yet - but change is upon us, a whole new year! As 202o comes to a close I invite you to really take a look at this past year, and blessings that you’ve had, there’s always something to be thankful for.

This time has been anxiety provoking for many - I personally lost my job due to COVID-19 and know many others who have as well. Even worse, my heart breaks for the hearts that hurt each day because they have lost someone that they love. In times of such loss, it can be hard to look at the blessings that we do have. I keep telling myself that everything happens for a reason, however I’m still waiting to discover what that reason is - as I’m sure many of you are too. What I do know is that we are blessed to wake up each day and get a second chance. We never know how much time we have here. Every day is precious. We all need to look at our lives and know that we are blessed for all that we do have.

Although this has been a different holiday season, I think it’s important to remember the mix of emotions that the holidays always bring. While some of us are walking around happy and full of sunshine, there are others finding it hard to get out of bed and face another day. We may see the people who are struggling day in and day out and not even know what they’re feeling - it could be a friend, a co-worker, or even someone in your family. The best thing we can do is be kind, give a smile and a compliment whenever you can. You may just be that little bit of light that someone really needed. With a little bit of sun and water, anything can grow.

I happen to love The Holidays. For me, celebrating Christmas is about being with family and friends - and there’s nothing I love more than buying that special gift for each special person in my life. If I had unlimited funds, I would buy for every single person I know - since I have not won the lottery this is not my reality, but I’ve come to learn that the biggest gift you can give someone is your love and time. It’s the unasked for acts of kindness that carry the most weight, and this holiday season, I’ve been overwhelmed by the acts of kindness that have been brought to my attention.

A friend of mine told me a story about his ten year old daughter who used her own savings to buy a Christmas gift for a six year old boy who attends their church. The child’s mother passed and the father is not able to provide gifts for his children. I share this because if we all had hearts like this little girl, the world would be a better place. It’s important to remember what this time really means - and what that looks like for you. We grew up believing in magic like Santa Claus, but at the end of the day, the inspiration behind magical holiday traditions were real acts of kindness - Santa may be imaginary but St. Nicholas was real.

I have recently joined a club of passionate women, dedicated to helping those in need. The club was started many years ago by women who simply needed a girls night out once a month, which they used to focus on giving back. They decided to call themselves the “Bitches” working as an acronym for ‘Be, Inspired, To, Change, Hearts’ - hence the club’s name, The B Club. Each year, the club finds a family to sponsor through the holidays. Hoping to get involved, I posted on Facebook to encourage donations for this year’s family, two children (ages two and four), who basically have nothing. I was blown away by the generosity that followed this post, people were coming out of the woodwork to help this family in any way that they could. I wanted to share this story to serve as a reminder to have an open heart and be open to giving, even in a time like this one. We must remember that there are always others who have it worse than we do, we must remember to be thankful for the blessings that we do have, and we must remember to be mindful of the ways we can bless others.

As we move closer to the start of a New Year, I encourage you to keep your eyes open for blessings and count the blessings around you now. Although it can be challenging, we have to keep moving forward. Every night when my husband tells me “goodnight, I'll see you tomorrow.” I say, “I better.” Every day that I get to spend with my loved ones brings me happiness. Knowing I have one more day to make things better and to be able to hold them and tell them how much I love them is something not to take for granted.

Find strength in your relationships by putting in the effort needed for them to stay firm and grow (even if those efforts are a Facetime call instead of an in person visit). This time has proved that not every day gets a tomorrow morning. But even in loss, I believe that our loved ones are still with us. They leave their little finger prints around us as endless blessings that we just have to be open to seeing. Instead of letting the anxiety and stress of 2020 continue to build, we can choose to focus on the parts of our lives that bring positive energy, and work to release lingering negative energy (as best as we can), to recenter ourselves for the New Year.

I would like to close with a Mantra that I find to be fitting to this time. Give yourself a moment, maybe even at the end of each day, to remind yourself of your many blessings and work on opening your heart for even more.

“I embody love. I embody compassion. I embody love and compassion for self and others.”




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