Kristen’s Corner: ‘Get to do’ vs ‘Have to do’


If you turn on the news or scroll through social media, you’d be hard pressed to find something to be thankful for.

Coronavirus cases are rising at an alarming rate. Businesses large and small are shuttering their doors, leaving millions unemployed.

And don’t get me started on the political turmoil we’ve found ourselves in.

As a woman of faith, even I’ve found it hard to keep up hope during the pandemic.

A few weeks ago I found myself weighed down by the negativity, and decided to change it up. I began listening to more positive podcasts, and subscribed to a few morning newsletters that offered rays of light into today’s dark world.

One of those was The Daily Stoic, which explores the ancient philosophy of Stoicism. I liked it because the focus was not on changing external events, but rather learning to control ourselves and our responses.

It seemed like a timely lesson for 2020.

In one of the emails from last week I found this quote and it has stuck with me: “It might not seem like there is a big difference between seeing life as something you have to do versus seeing life as something you get to do, but there is. A huge, magnificent difference.”

Looking at life as something I get to do has opened my heart and mind immensely. Instead of stressing out about having to make the long drive to the Boerne game this Friday, I view it as a way to get to see the beautiful Texas hill country.

I can look at my apartment search as a “have-to-do” stressor. Or I can see it as a way to get to know the town, the people, and (hopefully) our readers.
As of this writing, the pandemic has claimed 253,600 lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fact that I get to celebrate Thanksgiving at all is truly a blessing.

Is it annoying that I won’t be able to join my family around a big table filled with mom’s sweet potatoes and grandma’s famous pecan pie? Sure. But lucky for me, I live in a time where I can pull out the computer from my pocket and video chat with them, and my friends back in Denver.

No, video chats are not the same as in person celebrations. You can’t catch Uncle Les sneaking out for a cigarette after bragging about quitting at dinner (Les, we always smell it). You can’t catch cousin Sally hiding her new tattoo, hoping no one notices (we always notice Sally). And you certainly can’t watch grandma add that extra shot of vodka to the pie filling (we know grandma, a little bit won’t hurt).

Like many of you, I too have grown tired of Zoom meetings. It’s not the same as being in a room full of those you love (or even those you are forced to be around once a year).

But after reading that quote, I’m starting to look at the fact that I get to, not focusing on the fact that I have to.

This Thanksgiving our tables may be smaller. Our fortunes may not afford us the bountiful feasts we are accustomed to having.

But let us all give thanks anyway.

Not for what’s on the table, or the people surrounding us. But for the blessing it is to get to do it.

Happy Thanksgiving Lockhart.

Kristen Meriwether can be reached at editor@post-register.com


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