It was the worst of times, it was the best of times …
News flash: The year 2020 has been a real bugaboo-boo. Even an introvert like yours truly isn’t immune to the claustrophobia of social distancing. I’m off-kilter, my senses are a tad dull, and if I have to attend one more dadgum Zoom meeting, I’m pretty sure my brain is going to explode.
Meanwhile, political and racial and societal strife rage. We fight about masks. We fight about privilege and prejudice, protests and pillaging. We fight about everything. People are getting sick or worse, and we shout at each other across the immensity of cyberspace. Forgotten are empathy, compassion, and forgiveness. Indeed, the love of many waxes cold.
Then, just when you think it can’t possibly get any worse, football (for a favorite local team, at least) is – ahem! – postponed. We’re staring down fires and hurricanes and murder hornets. Beloved superheroes are dying. Don’t even get me started on that election eve asteroid heading our way.
In a lot of ways, it feels like 2020 is just plain running up the score. When will it end? No one knows other than to say eventually, but believe it or not, there’s actually a silver lining or two woven into this mess. Somehow amidst all the mayhem, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to slow down, simplify, smell the roses. There are simple pleasures I’ve enjoyed more these last few months than I would’ve otherwise.
Music, for one. And dancing. I don’t even like dancing. I have two left feet at least, but all-out, high-energy, take-no-prisoners family dance parties are the best.
My wife and I now indulge in nightly walks around the neighborhood. There’s time to converse and connect. (If only I could somehow keep my lovely bride from hauling home our neighbors’ curbside rejects.)
Stargazing sessions on the trampoline are more frequent. Did you know I saw a shooting star the other night?
Books are never far away at our house, but right now they’re nearer than ever. The kids hang on my every word during bedtime readings from The Lord of the Rings. Absolute heaven.
I wish I could say I’ve written more. The inspiration has been there in spurts, if not gaudy word counts. I’m tinkering with an old manuscript from a few years ago. Slow and steady wins the race.
In the end, my favorite part of 2020 has been home church. For months now, Sunday services have mostly been happening for us in our living room instead of at the chapel. Our family prays together, sings together, takes Christ’s name upon us together. Each of us, including the children, deliver sermons in turn, and the spirit of it has been oh-so sweet.
Yes, one day this will all be over, and we’ll come out on the other side better for it. When that happens, I wonder if we might just be surprised at the fondness with which we look back.
Chris lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, Sara, and his six young children. He has a B.A. in print journalism from Brigham Young University and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Chris enjoys music by The Piano Guys, flying kites, and pumpkin pie. He also spent two years in the Dominican Republic without a pillow, but that’s a story for a different day.