I’m thankful for many things and a few of those came in 2020. There is no argument that some people have experienced an unfair share of suffering. And there is no argument that a desire to return to normal is attractive. But there are a few things I’ve learned this year that I don’t want to remove from my experience and I hope they shape the way I improve myself in the years to come.
I don’t want to remove the relational poverty felt during the more acute periods of quarantine. Missing my friends and family have made me appreciate the ease with which I’ve had access to people who care about me and I don’t want to take that for granted anymore.
I don’t want to remove the intimacy of time spent with my immediate family and the comfort that came from huddling-up when that’s all we had. The loyalty and reliance on my wife, our daughters, and our sons-in-law deepened our connection and I like it.
I don’t want to remove confrontations about the realities of systemic racism. Hard truths about other people’s pain and anger make me want to get off the bench. Same can be said about human trafficking, refugee camps, educational poverty, MeToo, and a list of other injustices that’s too long. I don’t want to live self-centeredly.
I don’t want to remove the grit and resilience put on display by so many people – notably among the younger generation – in caring for others, starting new endeavors, and finding love. Our oldest daughter married the most wonderful guy and our youngest daughter got engaged to the other most wonderful guy. The benefit of life’s most important decision x 2 in one family is more fortune than I deserve and it’s inspiring.
So I’m looking forward to something different in 2021, but not something that looks like 2019. I want to be moved by the experiences of this year so that any period of reorder is better than it was before.