Well what can I say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said? It’s been a shocker of a year. Many of us have lost loved ones, struggled with Covid, desperately missed loved ones, hated the disruption of routines and lack of freedom. No this year is not what we had all hoped for on New Year’s Eve 2019.
I love this time of the year. The time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve is often a time void. We get up when we want, eat what we want, go to bed when we want and generally forget the concept of time or day or date. This is the time I look back at the year we are leaving and look forward to the year that is to come. I sit looking at past photographs, talking to the children about the fun things they have enjoyed during the year and I pray about the year to come. This year I did pretty much the same as I always do, but this time I purposefully dug for all the hidden blessings that have come our way during 2020.
It is so easy to just look at the surface of 2020 and see the pain and disappointment. The joy comes with digging deeper, looking harder and fervently praying - “God where were you this year? Where did I see you? What did you hold me through?”
As a solo parent, this year has been hard for me. I work full time and volunteer lots on the ‘side’. To suddenly have all the family together under one roof, working and schooling, some days I found it hard to even find space to breathe. My roles rely on creativity and for me that involves long peaceful walks, uninterrupted conversations with God and lots of silence. None of that was possible with three children in the house 24/7. So I had to learn to adapt to new routines just as many of us have.
We have found new hobbies to enjoy as a family and to enjoy on our own. We learnt how to give each other space and how to ask for help when needed. We learnt how to have fun and stay connected with friends and family without being physically in the same room, and without the use of Zoom. We learnt to lean in and listen to God more. We learnt to take every opportunity that life gives us as you don’t know what tomorrow brings. We learnt to cry and we remembered how to laugh.
As a family we have suffered loss and illness. But we have also received joy and laughter. I wonder where your joy and laughter has been this year? Pray about it. Ask God to show you and have faith that He will.
As some of you know, we always name our years. We have chosen to call 2021 ‘Care’. This is about self-care as much as it is about caring for others. This year has been hard for so many of us and there are many people who will take time to heal. So we have decided as a family, to take each day as it comes. To make sure that we show as much care to ourselves as we do to others. To not get lost in the busyness that will follow when the new normal comes, but to remember the losses and gains of this year. In the waiting we learn, but we must chose to remember what we have learnt and to not lose it in the busyness of life.
Caring allows us to slow down, stop, pray and ask God what He needs us to do.
We wish you all a Happy New Year. Whatever next year holds, we pray that you will find the blessings and hold on to the things that you have learnt this year and learn to let go of the pain too.