Happy New Year! I knew you’d be busy today so I waited for you. I hope this is a good time.
Well, today is the day before the first day of the rest of your life. That was the message I heard my inner-self whispering to me on New Year’s Eve. Right away I knew I needed to spend some time reflecting on why 2020 mattered.
There was a lot to gather my head around. Visions and vision boards for this highly expected 2020 did not meet my expectations. Still I knew that the year had ended better than had been imagined, say in March.
March was weird. Fear was in the air. A mysterious disease killing people in China was in the states.
People who once seemed rational were acting weird. Rumors of social media espionage were taking place and skeptism was at an all time high.
Everyone was vying for their opinion and their voice to be heard while in lockdown, and lines were being drawn in the sand if you dared to object with the masses.
And race. Race was one of the hottest topics, political and otherwise, while an election loomed in the distance amid the questioned validity of mail-in ballots and cries of voter suppression. Everything that could go wrong seemed to happen and Americans began to boil over with mostly negative emotions.
Sure we sang at first, and the world seemed to take a pause, families ate together at the table, they played games, and checked in on their neighbors. In our disruption in life, we bonded through our screens and Zoom kept us connected.
Too connected at times. It seemed everyone was tracking the statistics of the disease, way more than we had ever tracked anything and while we were cooped up and praying and spraying down groceries and ourselves, there was another pivotal death.
The first was a Black man killed while jogging in a Georgia suburb. We were all perplexed. The tape of the incident played and replayed, and like O.J. or Rodney King, the world seemed to be divided on what happened to Ahmaud Arbery. And when the truth came out that the White men had hunted him and murdered him, no one continued to care as much because a White cop had kneed a George Floyd (a Black man) to death in the middle of a Minnesota day.
Breathing was perhaps the biggest issue of all in 2020, regardless of skin color.
It was a year of inconsistencies, injustices, and insincerity. A year of a pandemic and a vaccine. A year to be seen and silenced. A year to forget and yet to never forget.
But. There was good news, too. And yesterday, I found myself listing 20 prayers prayed and to my delight I found 20 corresponding reasons to praise God. Everything from prayers about friendship to rest to racial reconciliation found a private and personal answer by the end of the year.
Ultimately the process cleared the path for a brighter perspective on 2021. Through it all, and I mean through all of the horrible parts of 2020, I have peace with knowing that no matter the state of affairs in the earth, God is always with me. He is Emmanuel, through it all. And today, the first day of the rest of my life, I had the benefit of reading the first Proverb, pronouncing that whoever listens to God will live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil. (verse 33)
Praise the Lord!
So let me encourage anyone who still needs a boost after the calendar year changed but your situation did not, and for whatever reason you still may not have a job, you still may feel unheard and invisible, and you may even be sick at this moment. Please don’t give up because if you are still breathing there is still hope for a better tomorrow. Learn from your losses and lean into your gains. You may not feel that you have any gains but I assure you there is some reason to be grateful.
If possible, right now, make a list of the things hoped for during last year that became a reality—i.e. a good night’s rest, a hug after a long quarantine, a love letter from a long lost friend.
Hang your hope on the fulfillment of small wishes. Know they are from the God who wants you to have a blessed life and who gave you a tangible sample (or many samples) of His love. Don’t let your hope go. Hold it tight and believe for more manifestations.
Do, let go of some of the other things you desired for in 2020, though. You know which ones. The selfish, meaningless things that will never help you survive a pandemic, people included.
If you must, like them from a distance, a good social-distance of six feet or more. I suggest six miles. Life is too short and precious, regardless of the year, to spend with people who don’t value you.
And while we have taken it for granted in year’s past, we’ve learned what really matters this year, albeit the hard way. While some want to bury every memory of 2020, I hope we never forget. “The Pause,” as I call it, will forever be ingrained in my mind and journaled in my diary. I trust you will take time to recall any glimmers of hope and answered prayers as I suggested (if you have not already). And I pray that you will make everyday the first day of the rest of your life.