This is not a post about my New Year’s resolutions, nor is it about my “Reflections of 2020”. Because honestly, this year was rough. As a matter of fact, 2020 is THAT trauma that you block out of your mind so that you don’t have to deal with the amount of pain that came with it. So that’s why I don’t want to make a list of all the things that happened (all of our lists are going to look very similar). We never would have imagined this would happen in our lifetime. These moments affected us in monumental ways, and it’s not something that we want to revisit in our minds much less put down on paper. You want me to be able to read that again? Nah. I’ll pass. (This is a FAR cry from my blessings on blessings 2019 Year of Yes wrap up post.)
While there are negative aspects of 2020, I can’t focus on that solely because a lot of good things occurred this year too! This year was the year where every moment had an equal and opposite reaction. The death of George Floyd led to a movement for justice, equality, and civil rights that hasn’t been seen since the 60s. People lost jobs or financial stability, which led them to start new businesses. People lost loved ones but gained a new lease on their own lives. Babies were born! Houses were purchased! Degrees were earned! And parents who had to home school their own kids (read some of their stories here), gained a new respect for teachers, and their kids actually begged to go to school. (I know mine did. LOL.)
Here’s some things that the last 365 days have taught me.
- Losing a “celebrity” can be just as painful as losing a friend. Kobe Bryant, Christopher Brient, and Chadwick Boseman all died this year. They were all global celebrities, whether you knew their names or not. And I was stunned, shocked, and heartbroken each time. I am so grateful that they each walked in their purpose so that the world would be able to experience their talents and gifts but their time was all so short. Which brings my next thought…
- Every funeral that I attended this year, either physically or virtually, was for a black man. Read that again. And it shook me. It still brings tears to my eyes. Some were young, gifted, and gone too soon. Others were older and wiser and still gone too soon. Black men weren’t just dying in the street, they were just… dying. I don’t know what to do with how I feel about that.
- Even though I attend church virtually and listen to gospel/praise and worship music almost every day, I really miss actually being in the building where “church” takes place. I’ve been taught that we, the people, are the church, but there is something about being in the building. It was always special, but now that we can’t go to church, like so many other things, it means so much more.
- I figured out that the list I made in my head about what I want and don’t want was inaccurate. I was living under a false impression all these years that I had clarity about what I wanted out of life only to find out that it only scratched the surface. It’s like when a 3-year-old asks you “but why” repeatedly, and your answer evolved from the basic to the more in depth. Yea, it was like that. And it left me feeling disappointed in myself that I had been living under this veil for so long. If nothing else, I have figured out who I am.
- In September, my husband had acute kidney failure and was in ICU (with Tropical Storm Beta outside the window). His hospital stay was an enlightening and heartbreaking experience, and we still are processing the effects to this day. Things shift during a crisis that you might or might not be prepared for.
- You know that even those small things are really the best things about life. You realized the things you have taken for granted: everything from giving hugs and handshakes to kissing babies. While we might feel like these are things we cannot live without, we have to acknowledge that they are part of the reason why we are in our current state. Human interaction and human contact are crucial to most’s mental wellbeing. These are things in which our soul depends on. Having to find new ways to connect via Zoom, telephone, or even consistent text messages are the modes that we have had to use to cope and lean on.
- Houston’s Northside is not as far away from the Southside as Houstonians like to think. But it’s farther away, because now that we have opportunities to go, we can’t go. Our poor grandmothers couldn’t see our smiling faces in person, and then when they did, it was through a screen door or tinted windows. This pandemic has done a lot in terms of helping us gain perspective and cherishing those who we love. And sometimes showing that love is by keeping our distance. Even if that means sitting at the FAR end of the dining room table.
- Your “family” are those people that show up for you – blood or not. I know yall know this already. However, if it wasn’t evident to you last year, then you really know it now. Those people who knew you were struggling and dropped a card in the mail, or ordered dinner for your family, or just stood in the driveway to talk you off the ledge. Or even someone who challenged you to take a leap of faith. (For all who showed up for me, THANK YOU.)
This year, we figured out who God was. Because if you didn’t know Him before, you know Him now. You know His promise. You know what He allows, and you know that your faith has to stay strong and steadfast. We’ve all changed. Our lives are different. We can’t ignore it. We can only accept it.
Do we have high expectations for 2021? It depends. Personally, I am lowering my expectations. My hope, wish, and prayer is that Coronavirus will slow down enough for us to have a semblance of what we thought we had before (e.g. family gatherings, eating out, going to events, etc.) Because, that’s all we can hope for. We don’t know what else is in store for us. What we do know for sure is that there are some things about this life that we missed and can’t wait to get back to, while others will be forever changed. The good, bad, and ugly… it all happened this year. And I survived. You survived. We survived.