Let me start by saying, it’s been a hard year, a painful year, a year of loss and fear and division. It’s been a year of isolation and naps and lounge pants. It’s been a year of uncertainty and it’s been a year that many, many.... MANY people will not look back on fondly.
I am not one of those people.
I loved you, 2020. And it’s hard to say, because I do not want to downplay in any way the pain and suffering that some people have walked through in this year. I do not wish to diminish those experiences or to imply in some way that the lives lost, the normalcy lost, the moments lost, should not be mourned. By all means, you have every right to mourn, and your feelings and experiences are real. I am so sorry for those of you who suffered in this year.
My experience was different.
And I want the brazen freedom to SAY it: I loved you, 2020. I want to say it for myself and I want to say it for those who feel they are not allowed to say it. This has been a year of beauty for me. And I am not the only one who feels this way. I know you’re out there, so let me say a little louder for those of you in the back, you crazy, amazing people - I loved you, 2020. Here are some reasons why:
As I have said, this is a touchy subject. Many people hate change. I happen to love it, to THRIVE in it, to EXALT in it, and this was the year of comprehensive, messy, unplanned, interrupting-every-part-of-our-lives CHANGE. The struggle was so real, and I embraced it with all of my being. Come on now, you change loving weirdos, I know I’m speaking right to you. Unexpected change meant, we could reinvent ourselves wildly and with abandon. It meant, we could try new things, say yes to things we have longed to say yes to, and to say no to things that we never thought we would be free of - all while feeling accepted for doing so. No judgement, they said, it’s the pandemic! No worries, they said, it’s the quarantine. You do you, they said, and we DID. Yes we did.
Family was the center of life again.
We were all so busy Before March 13th. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I was SO busy. Even those of us who really wanted family to be a priority in our lives before COVID found ourselves examining how much of a priority it really was. Why did we examine this? Because all of a sudden, we were forced to be with our spouses and children. We were asked to stay at home, to play games with our kids, to cook and bake together, and to DEAL with ourselves. Suddenly, it became apparent whether family had truly mattered in the first place. We couldn’t even go to church! We stayed at home and worshiped in our living rooms - in our jammies (gasp)! Worship came to the home, we ate at the kitchen table again, we didn’t rush off to evening practices, because they were all canceled. For many, many of us this was a hard loss. We loved to watch our children play sports. We wanted to sit and watch them play the piano in a recital. Now we could not. It was taken from us. But something was also given to us - the time to be WITH our children. And we discovered just how valuable those moments were.
The work of teachers was spotlighted.
I am a teacher in the public schools, and I want to say how refreshing it is to hear parents say things like, I now understand how challenging your job is. As a Christian, it has been excruciating to listen to fellow believers belittle educators and the education system for years. Before COVID, these parents always seemed to be disappointed in us for not raising their children. They had forgotten whose job that really is.
We are here to teach math, science, language arts, music, etc. Our job is to teach academics, and it is the parents’ job to teach morality and decency. Teachers can reinforce morality and decency, but we cannot do the job of both the parent and the teacher. This simple fact had been forgotten, that is until Covid.
Before COVID, many Christian parents were continuously threatening to pull their children out of public school and homeschool them (insert eye roll here). Then, in March, the schools closed down. These parents suddenly became homeschoolers, and they realized just how hard educating and raising children at the same time is. Many began to value their children’s teachers. They began to thank them and pray for them, instead of complain and belittle them. It was very refreshing, and I am praying and believing this trend will continue.
Lastly, vast opportunities became apparent in 2020.
Many of us discovered what we were really capable of. We began to explore dreams that had been asleep, and we began to pursue them again. We were no longer ashamed to be ambitious, because we figured, well, if there’s a time to go for it, it’s now! Our eyes were opened because all of the distractions had been removed. All the things we thought were important were suddenly gone, and we began to fight for what really mattered: family, connection, a peaceful home, a loving marriage, a healthy mind and body, vulnerable and accountable friendships. And we fought for our dreams again. We remembered ourselves. We woke up. And I, for one, will never go back to sleep. I’m staying WOKE, because now I actually understand what that means.
I loved you, 2020. I don’t regret a minute of this year; instead, I cherish the memories of the transformation you brought to me, my marriage, my home, and my relationships. I thank God for you, 2020. Thank you, Jesus, for stripping away the noise and the foolish distractions. Thank you, Lord, for removing the scales from our eyes. I choose to celebrate and to express gratitude for this year. And I look forward to carrying the wisdom of this year into the rest of my years.
I loved you, 2020. And, thank you.