As we close out 2020, I know I am in good company when I say that this is perhaps the worst year in memory.
Globally, millions have lost their lives to a vicious virus, and hundreds of millions have lost their livelihood as a result of the economic impact.
Nationally, our country has not only seen high death and infection rates from the pandemic, but we have also been torn apart by lies and corruption.
Personally, I lost my beloved father to complications from a ruptured aneurysm.
Loss – at least for me – as been the dominant theme this year. And yes, along with it, senses of uncertainty and fear as well.
Loss, however, can be a good teacher. As I reflect on the Terrible 2020, I realize I have learned a good deal about our world, our nation, my family, and myself. Some of these lessons, in fact, can only be learned from losses.
In the midst of the raging pandemic, we have been inspired by the selflessness and bravery of healthcare workers, and we have counted on the tireless and meticulous work of scientists and public health experts. These men and women have put themselves at risk to care for the sick and dying, and to help us find ways to combat this cunning various. We have a whole new appreciation for the contribution of healthcare workers, scientists, and public health professionals shaped by witnessing the lives they have cared for, saved, and changed.
As the United States struggled with the triple hitters of pandemic, job losses, and divisive election-year politics, we saw an unprecedented number of voters exercising their civic duties by casting their ballots for the future of this great nation, and scores of election officials and judges standing up to pressure to protect the integrity of those votes. We have learned – and continue to learn – what democracy requires of us.
As my family hovered by our father’s side during the ups and downs of his final months of earthly journey, we learned that our family can lean on each other and on our faith to walk through days filled with dread and anxiety, holding on to the promise of inseparable love of a faithful God. I also learned that even in what seemed like dire circumstances, one could still be filled with gratitude: for blessings passed onto me by a parent who loved me since the day I was born, the ability to be with each other, the luxury to work remotely, the resilience that we didn’t know we had, and the hope of life eternal.
Undoubtedly, 2020 was no cake walk. But because of everything we have experienced, witnessed and learned in 2020, we can greet 2021 with greater strength, wisdom, and faith.
Wishing all of us a healthy and safe 2021 filled with faith, hope, and love. May it be so!
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