Is 2020 over yet? Admit it, you’ve been counting down the days until this crazy year ends. But as 2020 draws to a close, don’t let the challenges and sufferings and obstacles you’ve faced pass you by without giving them the opportunity to help you learn and grow. We can even find ways to be grateful for the difficult experiences we’ve had this year.
“This has indeed been a very, very difficult year but I think it’s important for us to go through an examination of the year, as it were. And as we look back on it and think of everything that has transpired this past year, we do see a lot of blessings and a lot of lessons that we hope we can carry forward into the new year,” said Joe Boland of the Catholic Extension on Morning Air®.
When we began this journey some nine months ago, we never could have guessed at what would transpire and how it would affect us all individually and as a community, nation, and world. Despite our wish for things to just “go back to normal”, this experience will stay with us. The pandemic has changed us each in a different way and we should spend time reflecting on how we can use what we’ve learned to improve our life and the lives of others.
For instance, applications to medical school are at an all-time high this semester, driven by the example of frontline healthcare workers and infectious disease specialists who have been leading the country in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic head-on. This shows that young people see these challenges and want to find ways to make a difference and help their communities in the future.
Have you noticed an increase in gratitude since this all began? Sure, we might be grumbling more about the difficulties we have faced, but aren’t we all more aware of the things we had pre-Covid? I, for one, won’t be taking for granted the ability to see a movie at the theatre, to attend the Holy Mass without a mask, and to hug my grandmother whenever I like. The small things we once saw as everyday, ordinary actions—like talking to a stranger at the grocery store or dropping your kids off for school—might be a little sweeter once we’re past the worst of the pandemic.
What are some blessings you’ve experienced? Perhaps you had some extra time to explore a state park, learn a new hobby, or spend more time in prayer. Maybe you had time at home with your family to pray the Rosary together or have some family game nights. Or maybe your blessing is that you’ve stayed healthy or learned how to suffer well.
Each of us will take away different lessons from this year. For some, it might be learning to never take time with loved ones for granted. For others, it might be a deeper spiritual life that they will carry with them in the years to come. Still others may have learned to unite their sufferings to the cross and use them to save souls.
For some of us, 2020 was more than just an inconvenience. Many lost their jobs or businesses, lost loved ones, maybe lost their homes and their financial security. Some families faced marital problems or mental health struggles as schools and workplaces shut down and stresses mounted higher and higher. Others felt a deep isolation and loneliness with month after month of no visits from loved ones.
Perhaps in seeing the suffering of so many around us, those who have a little extra can find ways to be even more generous to those in need. When we are all going through trials, humanity has a beautiful way of coming together to lift each other up and help each other out.
In these final days of 2020, consider the past year and everything you’ve faced. Then ask yourself these questions:
- What blessings have I experienced?
- What lessons can I take away from 2020?
- What things am I grateful for this year?
- How has this year affected my spiritual life?
- How might I reach out to help those around me?
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and blessed 2021!
Tune in to Morning Air® weekdays at 5-8am CT only on Relevant Radio®.