I keep hearing comments and seeing memes that act like 2020 is a curse word. And although most of those things are just meant to be jokes, I think it is clear that people are tired of everything we have faced since January 1, 2020. But there are still good things. And I realize that I can join in with the many voices declaring 2020 a bust. Or I can be a voice of true thankfulness.
This is a list of genuine thanks. It is more than me just trying to look at the bright side. It is me expressing some of the good things I have experienced in this difficult year.
1. I Was Glad to Start This Year Close with My Family
During the heart of the “Stay at Home, Stay Safe” orders from our governor, I was able to spend a lot more time with my family. My oldest son came home from college. I was working from home. We had dinner together every day. And we got along quite well. When my oldest left for college I wondered if we would ever all live together again since he is so independent. So I count it a blessing that God granted us some bonus time to be all together.
2. ReCAST Church Was Forced to Take Beneficial Technical Strides
We have never had any video presence for our services at ReCAST Church. It has not been a value in a culture where more people will listen to a podcast than sit down and watch a video of a church service. I am not sure when or if we would’ve looked into live-streaming and a better quality video camera. But now in 2020 we are in a much better place to be able to step into a satellite service in a different location if the opportunity arises. The church is in a better place technologically in 2020.
3. I Have Grown in My Appreciation for the Gathering
The band Chicago once crooned, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone . . .” I could not have imagined before 2020 that our church would go 12 weeks without a face to face meeting. If you had told me that would happen, I wouldn’t have believed you. And then this year. And I am saying that this is good, because those 12 weeks will be permanently marked in my mind as a reminder of the value of gathering TOGETHER as the people of God. 2020 will be marked as the year when it was tangibly confirmed to me that I need other people in my walk with God.
4. I Have Been Forced to Consider My Own Mortality
2020 has served as a “Momento Mori” for me. The “Momento Mori” is an artistic attempt to remind the viewer that all must die. It is a Latin phrase that translates to “remember that you will die.” Artists would use skulls in their paintings as a “Momento Mori.” Some would use hourglasses, clocks, overripe fruit, or extinguished candles as their “Momento Mori.” But I have 2020. It is a sobering reminder to think that we will all die. And as morbid as it may sound, it is a blessing to live in the urgent press of reality. 2020 has peeled back the fiction of immortality. Our culture hasn’t handled this moment well. And yet it is good that we reflect on our mortality, and then consider how we ought to spend our days.
5. I Live in a First World Nation
Two things may seem inconsistent here. First, it may not seem very PC to delineate first world and third world anymore. But what I mean by this is that a run on toilet paper and not being able to go to Anytime Fitness when I want to is not really a major problem. I cannot imagine what it looks like to go through a pandemic in places without running water. Here in my community, my fiber optic internet provider doubled my bandwidth so we could stream more services during the quarantine (for free). But secondly, some may consider this place worse than other nations because of the high number of cases. I would only say that I have a confidence in our medial professionals here in this country. In the midst of a year that represents a “Momento Mori,” it can only be a blessing to be in a nation with advanced healthcare.
So I have found some blessings in what has been a difficult year. There are many more blessings, but I limited this to five. What would you add to my list as a blessing in 2020? When we share the good, we find that there is a lot more there than we could ever see when we are caught up discussing the bad. Let’s share our blessings together.