Let’s be real—2020 was a downside-up year and just about everyone couldn’t wait to get it behind us.
2020 was going to be my best year. Whereas in past years I celebrated the whole month of my birth, this year was going to be year-long celebrations. Needless to say, none of this happened nor did I dream I’d be struck down by a virus which killed over a million others. This may sound contrary, but despite all the upheavals of the year, I experienced 2020 as a year filled with teachable moments and blessings.
Looking back at 2020, these are the top 5 lessons and blessings that stood out among the many:
Lesson 1: LIFE & NOW!
I survived Covid-19 when so many others did not. Going through that experience reminded me of how fragile and fleeting life is. NOW is the only time we really have! NOW is a blessing. The past is gone, tomorrow is not guaranteed. NOW is too precious to live with regrets or resentment or without purpose and intentionality. On the flip side, 2020 was also a poignant reminder of the surety of death and a reckoning on truly knowing what it means to live. The Japanese proverbs sums it up best: “When death finds you, hope that it finds you alive”.
Lesson 2: FAMILY & FRIENDS!
2020 was a strip-down year. We were stripped down to the basics of life and it was a stark reminder that we came into this world with nothing and when we leave it will be nothing therefore placing value on things is futile. Instead, we ought to value family and friends, appreciating what they each bring to our lives and the blessing of time we are afforded to spend with them.
Lesson 3: TIME
2020 had 12 months, 42 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours and 525600 minutes like every other year before it (except leap years), yet time seemed to have operated differently—one day rolled into the other so seamlessly it was as if a whole week was a continuous day. Because of this I was forced to be more intentional with my days, distinguishing between “working-from-home” and “working-at-home”.
2020 imposed on us the necessity of stepping aside from the hurriedness of the way we lived life before restrictions restrained our movements. We were forced to stop long enough to refill empty soul-tanks and to be okay with those phases of pause and to value them as blessings.
It was also the opportunity to come to terms with alone-time. I’m accustomed to me-time—time deliberately set aside for self-care—but 2020 imposed alone-time/isolation. This in turn forced new ways to connect which required more intentionality. Let’s face it, it’s easier “to do” than “to feel”. Throwing a party to bring loved ones together is easier “to do” than to go beyond the act of gathering “to feel” what our loved ones are experiencing. In many ways 2020 forced us “to feel”, to become more real in our relationships, that’s a blessing.
Lesson 4: PRIVILEGE!
Distinguishing between “working-from-home” and “working-at-home” meant I had the privilege of employment which in turn afforded me a home to live in, food to eat and the luxury of choice when so many others lost all these basic rights. 2020 peeled back the curtains and laid bare the levels of inequity and inequality in all spheres of our societies and most visibly in health, employment and education. And it revealed the levels of racial and social injustices as well. And, for the first time the world as a whole at the same time caught a glimpse of the collective trauma experienced in the psyche and bodies of black and brown skin people as we collectively exclaimed, “I can’t breathe”. That global reckoning and the spinoff actions to ensure inclusion, diversity, equity and equality are part of building back a better post-Covid-19 world is a blessing.
Lesson 5: … but GOD!
My most favorite word combination in the Bible is “… but God”. This two-word combination usually comes amidst the worse times in human experiences such as times of loss, death, sickness, misguidedness, failures. In those moments when you read “…but God”, you know there’s about to be a manifestation of grace and compassion.
2020 was a year where “…but God” was manifested. Amidst all that the year threw at us, it was still a year of blessings. For instance, when world leaders came to grips with the severity of this virus and one by one countries were shutdown, NATURE wasn’t! In fact, our ceasing and becoming still (aka lockdown) gave nature a bit of a reprieve. It was like a “… but God” moment.
Through it all nature kept right on giving. It was in nature where many found moments of solace. Personally I had a lot more alone times with God—I had walks by the river, did picnicking in parks, strolled through sunflower farms, vineyards and lavender fields—and I know many others also turned to the blessings of nature to enhance their wellbeing more than they had before. I’m grateful for the “…but God” blessings of 2020.
In sharing these 5 lessons in my look back at 2020, I’m also keenly and painfully aware that many find it hard to see blessings in a year where they’ve suffered loss. To those who lost loved ones to this virus, I extend my deepest condolences.
Thanks for reading. I’d like to hear from you—you can hit any of the “share this” icons or the “like” star or leave a “comment” or “follow” the blog.In creative solidarity, Dee