2020 has been tough, but not terrible.
And I say “has been” and not “was” because there are still two weeks left: two weeks in which to celebrate the holidays with family, take some time to reflect and relish in candlelight, to soak in the sweet pine smells, to enjoy music filled with hope and joy in Christ’s coming.
Yet, I am constantly being told by media and others around me that we should say, “Good riddance, 2020,” or “There was nothing good about 2020,” or “This was the worst year ever.”
But I just don’t believe that.
Yes, Jeff and I both lost best friends. We planned our wedding 15 times because guidelines kept changing. Family and friends couldn’t witness our union. Our ring sheep died. My physical health problems have continued and at times, worsened, throughout the year.
In the wider world, wildfires raged, people died of a disease that attacked in so many different ways, division seemed to reign, and jobs were lost. I’m supposed to feel the grief from all of that–everything that everyone else in the world has gone through, plus my husband’s and my grief and heartache.
But that is exhausting.
Caring about everything is exhausting. Believing that I am supposed to think the same way as everyone else about an entire year is exhausting. For me, 2018 was much worse than 2020. I was going through many mental health challenges, I missed sheep but wasn’t ready for my own flock yet, and I struggled to keep my freelance work afloat. At the end of the year, I scrolled through my Facebook posts to remind myself of the good things that happened.
Those good things included meeting Jeff.
So to say an entire year was awful isn’t helpful.
So I’m not going to.
I am going to say this:
2020 has been a good year.
Jeff and I planned a wedding this year. We married this year. We took short trips together. We’ve read books together. We painted our house and have created a cozy home. We formed our own business. My first Shetland lambs were born this year. I was able to attend the Midwest Writers Workshop in July because it was virtual and I could still work on the farm.
Several friends welcomed newborns into the world. Others were married this year, finding ways to allow family and friends to watch. With the Internet, we found creative ways to continue meeting and educating and growing so that our emotional, mental, and spiritual needs could be addressed in some small way, even when we couldn’t physically meet. Then, we were eventually able to meet in person by taking precautions, and there was wonder in rediscovering just how good it was to be with our loved ones.
We practiced weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice.
Friends on the front lines are receiving vaccines for COVID-19, something that people said couldn’t be done within the year.
We were reminded that there are Forces stronger than disease.
So while we had a tough year, we can still relish in the last two weeks: a time for sweets, presents, resting, organizing, and preparing for the New Year.
Even though this time may look different from what we’re used to, we can still make something of it. We can still find joy, we can still maintain traditions, we can still create new ones.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may you be blessed with the best in this coming New Year.