“2020 Blows!” shouted the voice from YouTube. I shut it off and turned my attention to my blinking phone, which was indicating incoming texts. As bad as 2020 has been, I am thankful. I am thankful for a phone that still flashes at me. Thankful for smart, witty daughters that make me look at the world differently while always making me laugh (and sometimes eat crow). I am thankful for friends who still check on me even when I sometimes (usually) fail to reciprocate.

There has been so much evil to transpire so quickly this year that our brains truly cannot comprehend it all. And in some ways, I think that is a very good thing. And in some ways, it is an awful thing. I don’t think we ever need to forget the taste of freedom. I don’t think we ever need to forget that people are people. I don’t think we have to be so angry that we can’t see through the forest despite the trees. We’re never all going to agree with one another. Shouting and screaming is not going to convince the other to come to our side of the playground.

I’m hopeful that 2020 has taught us that we are still loved by One although divided as a people. I think empathy would be a far better emotion to become familiar with than peace or love. Empathy doesn’t mean we have to agree with others. It merely lends itself to say we acknowledge you. That’s it. We acknowledge you are a human being with a family who loves you. Every single person on the planet wants to feel they are heard.

I don’t know what 2021 holds. Heck, who knows what Thanksgiving or Christmas looks like. Will we be locked down again, or will we go back to normal? Who knows! I can honestly say I learned a great lesson in living from my late husband. He lived every day like it was his last because he thought it was, and life became his joy.

I’ve had peace throughout this whole pandemic. Yes, people are very sick. Yes, the virus is very real. But could it be, maybe, just maybe, we are to be getting our houses in order? Could it be that the lesson isn’t even about a virus or a presidential election? Could it be that God has given us one miraculous season to be locked in and down long enough to reconnect with our children, spouses, and neighbors? Shouldn’t we be raising an Hallelujah for social media? Can you even imagine this year without it? Did we blow it, or are we champions?

What has He put on your heart? Do you have things that are left undone? Empathy that needs to be extended? What are you thankful for? Try a cemetery. I know that sounds weird. The place where my husband is buried is a wide-open field with beautiful sunsets. It’s amazing what you can hear God whisper to you when still. Be thankful this season for what we do have.

“Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life”- Proverbs 4:23