I have been thinking lately about my take-away from this past year. Even though my life has been mercifully untouched by tragedy, I empathize with fellow humans whose lives have been torn apart. The virus has killed over half a million Americans, and and some of my favorite shops and restaurants, which took blood sweat and tears to build, have had to shutter.
Along with the virus, way too many Americans seem to have gone off the deep end politically, and they embrace crackpot movements like QAnon, a fanciful belief system based on the idea that the government is controlled by Satan-worshipping Democrats engaged in child-sex trafficking. Their beliefs are not benign either! Numbers of QAnon followers were involved in the violent attack on Congress recently along with other extremists who wish to be considered patriots.
I could go on and on about all the crises we have had to face globally this year, but like you, I am tired of replaying 2020 in my head. I prefer to consider how this past year can be a source of rebirth and transformation.
How can we turn this past year, which stripped us of so much we hold dear, into an opportunity for growth and positive change?
Last night my dear friends Jamie and Bryan came for dinner for the first time in a year. We were neighbors in Charlotte where my kids grew up beside their favorite “Uncles.” Now we all live here. Bryan is a phenomenon who grew up outside Gastonia, the descendant of millworkers, and has become a well-known spokesman for mental health. He has written many books, has been on television countless times, and writes for Forbes and the Huffington Post. We talked about the importance of facing the future with resilience: the ability to bounce back from trauma. He calls Resiliency the word of the year. Along those lines, he and Ariana Huffington are planning an online event where well-known leaders will talk about this important topic. Here is a link to sign up for free for this event in September. I have already signed up.Resiliency2021.com
Yes, it does take resiliency to spring back, but it takes even more positive energy to move beyond where we were before the pandemic. This year has been a time out giving us the chance to reassess our lives and how we have lived them. Many people have learned how to work remotely, freeing them up from horrible commutes and days in a crowded office. Shopping has changed.Malls and department stores have shuttered and on-line shopping for essentials has become possible. Mercifully, people still enjoy hands-on shopping for art and crafts. I am grateful for all the customers who come in to Chifferobe.
My personal goal is to start giving every single person a chance. All of us have been disappointed and hurt in life, and human nature makes us guarded and distrustful of strangers. I’m already pretty accepting but can go farther in seeing That of God in Everyone, a core Quaker belief. My challenge will be when it comes to those who believe in Q or claim that the virus is a hoax.