There are lots of words to describe 2020: scandalous, reprehensible, excruciating, nightmarish, merciless, devastating. At times it felt apocalyptic, like the end of days had come and left only scorched-earth. There were wild fires and hurricanes, murder hornets and the murder of innocents, massive protests, political division and mayhem. Then there was Covid 19 in a class by itself. This pandemic, the like of which we've never seen, struck hard and fast, instilling fear and paranoia. As we struggled to keep socially distant, to quarantine, sanitize, and wear our masks, our truest natures were revealed. It was eye-opening to find that during a worldwide pandemic when people were dying by the thousands, there were those who denied its reality and fought not to take the precautions that might help contain the disease. At the same time healthcare professionals waged a ceaseless battle against this serial killer called Covid 19, there were those who threw tantrums because they were asked to wear a mask and stay home. They held huge gatherings without care as to how many might be infected because they wanted a good time. We watched selfishness and greed reach new levels as people hoarded toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer. People were saying they couldn't wait till 2020 was over, and I wondered what might happen when it turned 21 and started drinking. But it wasn't all horror that Covid revealed. There was goodness and kindness. There were people helping people, creating their own limited bubbles to stay safe. People donating to food pantries that were feeling the strain of so many in need. People making masks to give away. The greed of some pushed others to be even more generous, to shout the thank yous to essential workers, to support local businesses when able, to tip a little more when service was given. As if to combat the evil around them, many people made it their mission to be kind. The trials we've faced in 2020 may be blessings in disguise. Through the heartbreak we've learned how important it is to be in the moment with those we care about, to share that embrace with a full heart, as if it was our last chance because it just might be. We've learned a lot about the things we can live without, that it's not so much what we have, as who we are able to share it with. 2020 has been different, for sure, a year we won't forget. But there is hope on the horizon, and with the new vaccines there is a very good chance that soon the miseries of this year will become nothing more than the memory of a nightmare. When we have hope we can work together to heal our wounded world, to repair the tears in the fabric of our democracy, to once again become the decent, kind, and caring human beings we are meant to be.
May the coming year bring a resurgence of hope to all of us. Let kindness, generosity, and love be our Go-to reactions in 2021.
Elise Skidmore ©2020