This is typically the time of year when people make resolutions for the coming year. Wait a minute! That doesn’t sound quite right! Wait here while I go check something. (dramatic pause) Ah, that’s right, now I realize the mistake I made. Let me rephrase that opening line.
This is typically the time of year when people have already broken their resolutions for the coming year. Honestly, I’m not very big on New Year resolutions mostly because the couch is comfortable and I enjoy eating way too much. I am, however, big on learning. I believe every experience in life is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves or the world in general. How we respond to various situations helps us see our areas of strength as well as the places we need to grow. The fact that all of us have just encountered one of the most challenging years we will ever experience means there is much we can learn from 2020.
Here are a few of the lessons we learned from 2020. In 2020, we learned the importance of family and friends. Lockdowns and quarantines were the norm of 2020. And as we lived through these moments, hopefully, we were reminded of our loved ones we couldn’t visit as regularly as we would like to do so. Let us strive to remember the importance of being with family in the future.
In 2020, we learned not to take anything for granted. That includes toilet paper, hand sanitizer and grocery stores full of goods. Empty shelves and various limits on goods were the norm of 2020. Let us be thankful this was only temporary. And as the years tick away, may our experience of 2020 continue to remind us of those individuals who journey through life and encounter shelves that are full but have pockets which are empty.
In 2020, we learned the value of companionship and togetherness. In 2020, we learned we have a long way to go to truly be a people of equality. In 2020, we learned there are some things which are not as important as we once thought they were. In 2020, we learned the difference between necessity and want as we had to make difficult choices because of limited funds. In 2020, we learned how much we treasure the ability to touch others whether that be a hug or handshake. In 2020, we learned that we could adapt to new things. Zoom meetings, curbside pick-up and hybrid learning are just a few examples.
In 2020, we learned that some people look better with a mask on then without one. In 2020, we learned that laughter is something we want more of and need more of in the future. In 2020, we learned the importance of good hygiene. Even though our hands now look like skeleton hands. In 2020, we learned that pants are overrated. In 2020, we learned that when loss comes our way, it is much better to be surrounded by those who care about us then to be left to deal with it on our own.
In 2020, we learned that we could in fact spend every single minute with our significant other and not harm them. Although, there were some close calls. Actually, come to think about it, I’m not sure anyone has seen my wife lately. In 2020, we learned the importance of staying connected with one another. In 2020, we learned we all need to be just a little bit kinder. These are just some of the lessons of 2020.
Yes, even in a year that most people would classify as terrible or awful, there were opportunities to learn and grow. Still, for many people, 2020 will be known as a forgettable year but I dare say, it will be an unforgettable year. The things we learned about ourselves and the world around us will remain with us for years to come. Yes, 2021 has arrived and with it a fresh start, but let us carry the lessons of 2020 with us into this new year and beyond. And may we become stronger and better people overall because of what we have learned from 2020.
Ty Myers is a pastor at Emmanuel UMC and Zion UMC, and a member of the Pickaway County Ministerial Association