2020 in the Rearview Mirror

Photo by Cozies Tone on Unsplash

Well, we made it. Most of us. God be with those of us who were left by others before their time. Today was a gray, indeterminate, indecisive day for the end of year, especially for the end of this year. I suppose I was needing a bright, cold, wind-swept day with clearly defined corners and color. A day that would sit down early and recall with humor and insight the past year.

Instead, I was thrown back to reflect on my own time. This year I admitted to myself that I am a glass-half-empty sort of person. I don’t know if that’s a permanent condition or a consequence of squinting at the world for most of the year. I found my default attitude to be one of melancholy, sometimes anger, and it was with effort that I took my stance toward life, the universe, and everything. I suspect I am not alone in this.

I was deeply affected by the violent deaths this year of so many: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others. Thanks to the patient but insistent guidance of dear friends Colleen Pierre-Louis, Rosalind Morgan Upshaw, Camille Lofters, and Laci McDermott, I found my voice. Much more to the point came the imperative to listen well and long to the Black experience in our time.

The evangelicals who supported President Trump stopped me in my tracks. It felt like a betrayal. While I admit to being dumbfounded by them, they forced me to reexamine my own views on the relation of personal faith to issues in the public square. This has pushed me to find a way between blinkered certainty and shapeless avoidance of controversy. All I can do is to speak from my limited perspective and act on what I am learning. My faith is an ongoing experiment.

Thankfully, Joy and I are well so far and have even managed to increase our walking time. Some months ago my Fitbit informed me that since January I had walked the length of Italy. By now I may have crossed the Alps into France.

This year has been a fire-hose of outrage and injustice. It’ll go down as the year our children tell their grandchildren about. So much heartache, yet so much courage, quiet heroism, solid friendship, and beauty.

There’s a new year ahead—fresh, young, with all its bits in place and all of them working. Hope abounds, if we are willing. Love casts out fear.

Thank you, friends, for your companionship. Onward and upward!

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