Too early to think about the end of the year 2020
It’s too early for Christmas. It’s too early to think about the end of the year 2020 (Although most of us have been ready for this year to be over since April). However, this is the time of year all businesses start scrambling and preparing for the end. It’s been Black Friday, Going-Out-Of-Business Sale all month long, and everyone is hoping they can make it through this last lap.
Our nation is struggling to contain COVID-19 nearly as much as we were this past Spring. Very little has gone according to plan. We all feel a loss of control. It keeps our eyes set firmly on our past, and our hearts set firmly to returning to an easier time. How can we go back? How can we turn back the clock from the year 2020?
Back to “normal”?
Those phrases we repeat about getting back to “normal” echo in my mind like the words of the Hebrew people in Exodus 16:3 where they complained that they would have rather stayed in Egypt, even if they were to be killed because they had plenty to eat there as opposed to the wilderness into which God was leading them. They complained about limited food options with no stores nearby and nothing to drink but water. Nothing was as convenient as they remembered. They complained about the travel and the work of taking care of themselves and each other. Everything was a chore.
That was what freedom felt like to those who had just been set free from slavery. Everything was a chore. What would have said if they had toilet paper back in Egypt and had to give that up in the wilderness? If the Exodus had happened in the year 2020, would they have received toilet paper from heaven each day instead of mana?
The struggle is real
Everything is a chore. That was the first part of our year. I can’t count the number of times I left the house without keys, without my mask, without my camera, trying to figure out how to bring the gospel message to a hurting world I could no longer see in person.
The pandemic questioned the way we do everything, and we know it is not over yet. What has that done to us?
It helped us see one another more. I was so busy running from one place to the next in 2019 that I rarely spoke to my neighbors. Everyone was stuck at home and the weather started to get nice. Soon all the men on our street started mowing at the same time, and many of the women started to do outdoor gardening projects. We began to see each other more. Then we started comparing notes and having bits of healthy competition to see who could keep up their yards the best and win the pretend award for the best yard of the year 2020.
Life affects life in the year 2020
All Across the nation, we became more aware of African American groups and their allies this year. We also saw some very right-wing political groups through the same open protests. Race and politics were mixed frequently, and more of it came out in the open. Protests like these occurred in previous years. Yet it was easier to hide away and pretend it did not affect you before the year 2020. This year, however, the protests had an economic effect. We noticed this especially in urban areas, where violence destroyed some businesses, and the unsafe gathering of people potentially increased the spread of COVID-19. This sometimes resulted in longer quarantine and stricter #HealthyatWork policies for businesses and their customers. Every day we saw evidence that our personal choices affect the lives and livelihood of people all around us, whether we knew them or not.
The initial realization of 2020 was that it is easier to live for self than to love others. When we take the command “Love your neighbor as yourself” and actually obey it, many of the things we took for granted begin to feel like a chore. What does that say about us?