A new year brings anticipation for great things. This year feels like a warmth of sunshine after cloudy days. 2020 brought many challenges without the “perfect vision” the year number indicated. Learning from our experience gives us energy for improvement as we move forward.
My list of twenty-one take-aways from 2020 with optimism that 2021 will be a better year if we remember:
We are resilient and can recover from stressful conditions.
We care about others more than our own comfort. Wearing a mask is proof.
We are creative with ways to connect, celebrate, worship, and teach while social distancing.
We are resourceful and can adapt to difficult circumstances.
We are all passionate about our beliefs, therefore it’s important to respect individual beliefs especially when they differ from our own.
We are patient, notably when it’s necessary.
We persevere in hard situations as we work for improvement.
We are courageous as we learn to do things we’ve never done before.
We are fashionable. Masks often match what we are wearing or make a statement about our personality. Colorful, fun masks are amusing.
We need each other. Isolating negatively affects our mental health.
We realize hugs are not to be taken for granted.
We are more aware of what our teachers and healthcare providers do. We are so thankful for their dedication.
We gained gratitude for sanitary stations by most building entrances.
We have appreciation for disinfectant wipes to sanitize grocery carts.
We learned zoom meetings are an effective way to take care of business.
We learned routine doctor visits can be done efficiently and are convenient by facetime or duo phone calls.
When an in-person doctors visit is necessary, the sticker on your shirt with the written temperature reading puts other at ease or encourages them to keep their distance if you have a fever.
We appreciated less people in the doctor’s office making the wait time to get into the exam room significantly shorter.
More people working from home improves the air quality and drives gasoline prices down. It’s grand that city streets no longer filled with vehicles were roped off for recreational bike riding and walking.
Social distancing at home allowed more time to get projects done.
Each person is important. We make a difference in the lives around us.
This year has been an experience we’ll all remember. 2020 not only strengthened our character, but it helped us realize what is most important. I hope to remember the positive lessons learned from the past as we move forward.
In Laura’s Story, Part 5, by Christine Scott, she remembers the angels in their lives who came to their aid after the death of her father. We often think of angels as beautiful beings with wings, but Christine was referring to family, friends and even strangers who helped them through a difficult time. A friend of her father sold equipment and hang gliders and put collection jars around town to raise money for their family. An aunt single-handedly packed up their belongings to help with the move and grandparents who welcomed them to live in their home.
These were angels who walked among them on earth—real people with mortal bodies. These wonderful people seemed to be sent from above and knew just what was needed at the moment. How can we recognize the angels in our lives? The answer is simple: acknowledge the kindness and help given to you. Those people who have made a positive impact in your life. I’ve been thinking about it and have listed a few.
Our biggest angels are parents. They brought you into the world and most of them sacrificed time and money for your care and well-being. They spent sleepless nights when you were sick or out too late. They were your advocates in sports, music and/or drama. They were your cheerleaders in school and other activities.
Our littlest angels are children. They are pure and wise beyond their years. Their innocence and curiosity gives us a new and delightful outlook on things which are often taken for granted.
Friends who are honest and loyal and lift you up when you’re feeling down.
Teachers who taught you how to read, write and do arithmetic. Most have angelic patience and without their help, you wouldn’t be able to read this right now.
Doctors and nurses who attend to your medical needs and help you feel better.
Therapists who help you overcome hardships and improve your abilities with their knowledge and encouragement.
We can all be angels by lending a helping hand. As we appreciate and recognize the good in others, more angels become apparent. When I think of the angels in my life, I realize they all have at least two things in common. First of all they are thoughtful and caring and second, they don’t always seem like angels. But how can they? They are people with mortal bodies and not perfected yet.
It reminds me of a “standing joke” Mark and I have. When I help him stand up I often say, “Look up at my halo,” to encourage him upward. To that he replies, “Oh there it is, resting on top of your horns.”
It’s true, sometimes I’m sweet and sometimes I’m not. However, by recognizing and appreciating the helpfulness in others, it usually triggers more kindness.
I was touched by this video posted on Facebook. Most parents take videos of their child at a school event, sports and/or music recital without a thought of it going viral, but this video is special. It was taken by a mother of an eleven-year-old boy, Matt, who has cerebral palsy. Matt was told he didn’t have to run the elementary school race, but he was determined to be like all the other kids. I imagined the heartache and worry this mother felt as she watched her son struggle, but she continued to record the race anyway. I heard her call out words of encouragement. I personally felt concerned for Matt’s health and safety and thought, this boy hasgood reason to quit. Then something magical happened as a caring teacher and supportive classmates urged Matt to keep going.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it, hoping I’d be like the caring teacher who turned around the apparent outcome. His encouragement not only spurred Matt on, but his example urged the students to cheer and support Matt. I want to be like the classmates who were probably tired after completing the race, but still went back to run beside him. Matt received the boost he needed to successfully complete the race. I will not soon forget the examples of Matt’s determination, the care of a teacher and the supportive classmates.
In the article Liftable it states, “In our world today there are plenty of stories of bullying and poor student behavior. That’s not the case here. What we have is a teacher who made a difference (as many often do) and classmates that went above and beyond to help a friend finish the race. A race which holds a lesson to be learned for everyone.”
As I viewed the video I noticed a difference in my own attitude. As I watched Matt receive the help and encouragement my thought of, this poor boy transformed to, with this kind of assistance and reassurance he’ll make it! In my heart, I also started cheering him on and felt his joy as he reached the finish line.
I recognized some similarities in my own race of life, where family and friends have given me confidence and raised my spirits when I needed it the most to help me reach the finish line of that particular struggle. This reminded me of a favorite poem.
When good friends walk beside us
On trails that we must keep,
Our burdens seem less heavy
And the hills are not so steep.
The weary miles pass swiftly
Taken in a joyous stride,
And all the world seems brighter
When friends walk by our side.
Have you felt the magic that happens when friends walk by your side? Have you given someone else the magic as you’ve blessed their life with love and support through their struggle? I’d love to hear about your experiences.