2020 was a horrific year. But there were a few upsides to the year: we learned how to spend quality family time in our households; we learned how to cook and not be so dependent on going out to eat; we learned creative ways to stay in touch with family and friends outside of the household; we learned that living room carpets were a good place to practice Yoga; and most of all I think we learned to value our families.
For each of us 2020 presented different challenges, but many of us tried to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe by wearing masks (even if we hated them... the masks, not the family). Some weathered tremendous financial losses when businesses shut down. The CDC is now saying “close to 100 million people have had it, close to 45 million have been sick by it and around 2.5 million people have been to the hospital for it”. And let us not forget that more than 350-thousand have died from it.
There were also many acts of generosity and heroism. Many folks helped others by providing food at foodbanks, some even started local foodbanks in their communities, dropped off clothes and coats at local collection centers, and supported local restaurants by ordering take-out/pick-up service. Teachers went above and beyond by not only appearing on ZOOM to teach students, but some even made deliveries of school items to students’ homes and gave their students extra attention and help when possible. Nurses, doctors, Paramedics, EMTs and other first responders worked around the clock caring for those who were stricken by the disease
Some businesses tried to help by offering discounts, rebates, and delivery services. Restaurateurs delivered free food to overworked EMS agencies and healthcare workers. People in metropolitan and suburban areas displayed signs thanking essential workers and cheering daily at 6PM. Video App companies made it possible for holiday family “gatherings” as close as your computer or cell phone. Streaming services hosted special entertainment and performances. And museums, educational conventions, libraries, and some religious institutions went online so no one had to miss out on sights, lessons, and comfort that people wanted.
When this all simmers down, hopefully soon, what will be the things we take from our myriad of experiences? It’s my personal hope that we will take with us a sense of community, the knowledge that even as we sat isolated in our homes, we were never truly alone. I hope that the fact that so many of the poor and homeless were affected disproportionally will strengthen our commitment to help all, that we are all neighbors, that we are all human beings. It would be nice to move forward with feelings of generosity, concern, compassion, and humbleness. Maybe, just maybe, we can cooperate with each other, no matter what gender, color, orientation, political ideology, religion, or economic status anyone is.
While we mourn our losses, let us also celebrate our strengths.