2020: When The Fog Clears
2020: When The Fog Clears
No doubt, we will all look upon the year 2020 and roll our eyes. The memes are already out: “Wait til 2020 flips over to 2021 and starts drinking”, they say. On January 1, will be able to say “hindsight 2020”.
Nancy Yang for MPR News wrote a compilation of individuals who took the lemon of a year and made memories in 2020. People got married despite lockdowns and pandemic. People spent more time outside. Fur babies longing for forever homes got adopted. Families spent more time together. Some took advantage and remodeled or organized their homes. I know I did this back in March but you would never guess by looking at my home office in its present state.
As I sit and type this, I am home again, awaiting results of my third COVID-19 test in three months. This time, I am actually sick with symptoms and not on lockdown because I came into contact with someone who was positive. I have sense of an illness, a bit of a cough and a scratchy throat but I am still standing-just staying away from co-workers and avoiding spreading my, what could be in this age, “potentially lethal” germs. Sitting at home is a pain in the ass for someone who enjoys being out with people and being productive in the field, but I suppose I could look back and see the good in 2020 as well.
Family togetherness is great. I have worked from home while our son attended classes online and while he knocked out a few miles on our AMT, I’ve had to apologize to colleagues and customers, on occasion, for the loud belching that shook the house and made its way into my phone conversation. Lucky for me, most of them understood that teenage boys are just gross. My husband and I had many walk-to date nights this summer, where we hung out on the outdoor patio of one of our local haunts, drank beer and ate dinner; commiserating with others on what an utter train wreck 2020 was shaping up to be.
So yes, there were bright spots in the year 2020. We are blessed to be employed with two incomes rolling in. We are blessed to have an incredibly resilient child who rolled with the punches. We even had some fun and laughs in all of this, along with some tears because yes, I miss my mom and dad terribly.
2020 has tested our patience and tolerance. 2020 has changed our perspectives on many things. This is also really good news in a bad year. 2020 has opened our eyes to good, bad and ugly.
2020 all started with a media circus and an impeachment hearing. Then reports of a deadly virus from Wu-Han, China started flooding in. Then came the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 around the world. How can we ever forget this one?
Then airports turned into ghost towns. We were told to stay home, that it was dangerous to go anywhere. Restaurants, beauty salons and other “non-essential” businesses were closed. School was “canceled” for the rest of the year. We thought, if we can just get through the summer, all would be great, right? Then came riots in our major cities, fires on the west coast and news that our kids were not going back to school in some states. The extra layer on this cake? Election year. We became confused by what was “safe” and “unsafe” and when to “trust the science” in times of pandemic. Then came more restrictions. More lockdowns. More businesses unable to sustain and closing for good, more dreams down the drain and more people out of work. This was all the bad and the ugly.
One might think, how do we turn this bad and ugly into good? How can we? For us, as a family, we started by supporting our local businesses and not giving in to the fear-mongering that has left individuals paralyzed and prisoners in their own homes. Tips have been extra-extra with my nail salon, my brow gal, my facial gal and my lash gal (yes, I’m THAT vain). We also firmly believe in the principle of giving our first fruits. This year, we collectively made the decision to take some of our first fruits and help those who work at these local establishments. During the first lockdown, we decided to take our tithes to buy grocery store gift cards for the servers who were out of work at our local bar and grill. During the second lockdown proposed by our governor, we took our monthly December tithe to bring Wal-Mart gift cards to these same folks (some who have little kiddos) so they could buy Christmas presents. After being lectured by a pastor at a large church we once attended about how expensive the sound system and fog machines were and hear his reasoning for driving around in his sports car (complete with a passive-aggressive dig at the nameless individual who called him out for this) from the pulpit after lockdown #1, we thought this was a better use of our tithe in this time. We know ultimately, this is for God to decide. We felt blessed by the tearful “thank you”s and hugs from people who were once strangers but now friends. We know we took a crappy situation and made it better for some. It would not have mattered if no one at that establishment knew us and our gifts were anonymous. We’re not perfect but we felt we did some good and that made this $hit-sandwich of a year better in our eyes.
A meal on someone’s table means so much more than a rocking sound and lighting system and fog machines. When the fog clears, there are people who are still hurting, lonely and scared in all of this mess. 2020 has tried our patience, our endurance and our strength. 2020 has been a huge “WTF” for all of us. We have become jaded, pissed off, frustrated and flummoxed at times. But for some of us, 2020 has given us more discernment on the things that matter. Some of us have become more aware of the stances we take and have become unapologetically vocal in this regard. Our BS detectors are fully functional. We’ve learned to recognize those who pray upon the weak and have no shame in standing up. People are working hard to fight for the lives they have and for their families. There are forces that are also hard at work in trying to distract and take this all away. Another good thing about 2020? These forces have become known and I believe, some of us have become more vocal about calling them out. At least I hope so.
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.-James Watson
It is imperative that love not be extinguished and hearts not grow cold in 2021. This includes love for our nation and the very fabric that weaves it together. The hopes, the dreams of all of us, collectively. In 2021, we hope to hug our loved ones despite the political ideologies that divide us. We hope to hug our elderly parents and grandparents. We hope to see the smiles on faces that were once masked up. We hope to see busses of kids going to school. We hope to sit next to that stranger in row 11 on an aircraft and have a conversation en route to a fun and exciting destination. We hope to see businesses unlock their doors, welcome people in and survive. We hope, “flatten the curve”, “six feet apart”, “mask up”, “social distancing”, will stay where they belong-in 2020 and slowly peter out in 2021. And for the love of God, we hope to never see those damn arrows directing us which way to travel down grocery store aisles EVER again!
Move over, 2020. Here comes 2021. Enough, already. Let’s cut through this fog.
Photo Credit: DIVA007/FlickR/Creative Commons/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)/Cropped