We are seeing the new year in quietly, a few fireworks in the distance.
In reflecting on 2020, obviously it has been much different that we imagined it would be this time last year. But in looking back, I have so much for which to be thankful.
A favorite podcaster challenged me today to think about the things I “made” in 2020. In her podcast she suggested several categories to consider – food, art, memories, decisions, confessions, and such. I’ll attempt a few of those.
While I cooked nearly every day, I can’t say that I made any food much different than previous years. I resurrected a couple of old recipes that I hadn’t fixed in years – 4-layer delight, chicken and biscuits. I learned a new from-scratch recipe for chocolate cake that others seemed to love. I also learned to cook ribs in the Instant Pot – so easy, so tasty!
Not a typical idea of art, but I redesigned our bathrooms this fall. We had evidence of a water leak from them, so we knew we would have to tear out walls, plumbing. We decided since we had to do that anyway, we might as well do a full remodel. I had fun studying pictures online, pacing up and down the aisles of the tile shop, pouring over colors … and then drawing up the plans. (Fortunately, we had a capable contractor to complete the work!)
I resumed writing this fall. I’ve blogged off and on for 10 years. I have a love/hate relationship with writing. It’s work. But it is also an artistic outlet for sharing my faith. Devotional writing makes me think more about the scripture and poetry I read, and helps me to assimilate it. I hope, too, that the blog inspires others, encourage others in their spiritual journeys.
It’s my privilege to spend most of my time at home. Our twin grandsons live with us giving me many opportunities to make memories with them. But I haven’t seen our older grandsons as often as I had in previous years. I’ve missed our regular visits! But one particularly sweet memory was being invited to host a book club for Colin, my oldest grandson and his friends on Zoom. Throughout the spring and summer we read books together, chatted about them, played games online, laughed together. Ten-eleven year olds are so much fun and I was the beneficiary of their kindness!
In some ways I appreciated even more the value of technology in this past year. Zoom became an essential tool – I tutored online, our church community group met online, we attended theology class via zoom. Friendships I’ve formed through Twitter and Facebook blossomed. I enjoyed conversations with friends separated by hundreds of miles.
In other ways, technology, specifically social media, was a source of turmoil. Inequities, politics, disinformation, conspiracy theories – I am still taken aback by the attitudes and words spoken online. I confessed that I see life through the lens of white privilege. The awareness of (suburban) white privilege heightens my need for empathy and compassion – and it shows me my need to listen well to the stories of those who are not white, not privileged. I also confessed my concern that Christian nationalism is distorting the good news of the gospel.
The big decisions we made this year – to practice social distancing, to wear masks, to cancel trips – were made out of love for our family and neighbors. I’ve learned to love shopping for groceries online – I may very well continue that practice well after the pandemic has been resolved. Our house is a regular on Amazon’s route! We love our church! The staff offers an outdoor service early on Sunday mornings – it is such a privilege to worship in the church yard!
Yes, this has been a difficult year, still I have experienced the grace of God, good health, and abundant blessings. I look forward to what 2021 has in store!