Our Readers Share – Jim Winship: “Nighttime Gratitude”

Jim Winship

Dr. Jim Winship has taught social work classes at UW-W for over thirty years. He shared these words with Banner readers to introduce his “Nightime Gratitude” thoughts: “Anxiety and its older sibling Fear and its first cousin Stressed Out—they are violating our social distance these days. They get close; they close in on us. Now, I am fortunate not to suffer chronic anxiety or panic attacks. I am just someone who gets really anxious at times, and those “anxious at times” moments have gotten more frequent since the advent of the pandemic.”

Nighttime Gratitude 19 April

I have been reading Sarah Wilson’s Book: First We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Conversation about Anxiety. It’s worth reading, and one of the things that she suggests is before you go to bed every night, you think of four or five things that you are grateful for.

For more than a week, I have been following this practice. Two nights ago, these were the things for which I was grateful.

I was grateful that when I looked in the freezer I found some Italian sausage. I put that together with other veggies that we had, making sausage and peppers over pasta—good comfort food. Thinking about it, having the Italian sausage in the freezer is representative of a kitchen with lots of food in a comfortable house. We are fortunate and privileged.

I am grateful for our dog Virgil, a twelve-year-old greyhound. When Virgil runs, he is fast and graceful, and much of the time he is very content spending time with us and lying around. When I am reading and he comes close to get his head scratched, I smile.

I am grateful that our daughter Hope calls us at night as she is driving home after a twelve-hour shift at the Operation Center of California’s Office of Emergency Services. She is part of a team working to obtain medical supplies for this pandemic and to prepare for the next crisis. We ask her about her day. The work is often frustrating, as they are setting up new procedures and helping long-term employees see the benefit of doing things differently than how they are used to— and sometimes there are small victories.

She asks us about how our day has been, and I tell her about my online teaching. We talk of taking hikes in the nearby nature preserve, of making food, books, a jigsaw puzzle, Netflix. Our days in many ways resemble pre-COVID-19 life, and I think she finds this reassuring. Talking to us also keeps her alert on the twenty-minute drive back to her apartment.

I am not sure that this gratefulness practice is reducing my anxiety, but it does seem that my dreams have been more pleasant since I began.

–Our thanks to Jim Winship for generously sharing one night’s expressions of gratitude with us. If you’ve been having more “anxious at times” moments, might nighttime gratitude be a practice you’d like to try?

Our Readers Share: Have You Created (or Seen) a Timely Poem/Photo/Short Story/Drawing, Etc. That You’d Like to Share with Banner Readers?

Those of us who spend time on social media (Facebook, etc.) have had plenty of opportunities to contribute and/or view all sorts of expressions that have been inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting isolation and “free time.”  There have been thoughts shared about positive ways that our life might be changed going forward, suggestions for good ways to spend time at home alone or with family, ideas for things for children to do, online learning resources, or online arts resources – virtual museum visits, ballet, etc. There have also been some beautiful photographs of scenes and wildlife in our area. Those who aren’t on social media may not have had much opportunity to see this sort of thing, and they might appreciate seeing some of the “gems” without having to put up with the ads, the clutter, and the negativity that sometimes comes with social media.

We hope that you might have something that you’d be willing to share.  Anything that’s been created by someone else should, of course, be credited, and you should ask their permission if you’re able. We cannot post copyrighted material without permission. We can’t guarantee that we’ll have space for all submissions, and contributions will be subject to editorial board approval. The one definite exclusion is anything politically oriented. Please indicate whether you’re willing for us to include your name as the submitter or if you prefer to remain anonymous.  At least for now, no more than two submissions per person, please.  Send to whitewaterbanner@gmail.com or click on “submit a story” near the top right of our homepage.  Thanks for thinking about this!  Share This

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