2020 was quite a ride, wasn’t it?
But it’s finally over. Most of us have been looking forward to 2021 for a long time now, and with good reason. It has to be better, right?
I hope so. And it probably will be.
But not for everyone. We have to remember that. We need to curb our enthusiasm and have a little empathy. Because it won’t be better for everyone. I hope you have the best year of your life. But some people out there will have the worst year of their life. Remember them.
January 1st always somehow reminds me of the old Peanuts cartoon. You know the one with Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football. It was a returning strip that Charles Shultz drew every year when he was still with us. Every year, Lucy would convince poor Charlie that she would hold the football and let him kick it. And every year, she would pull it out of the way at the last second, causing Charlie to miss and land on his back.
Every January 1st, we hope that this will be the year that the ball doesn’t get jerked out of our reach. That we can finally kick a field goal.
Some years it happens, most it doesn’t.
Because there is always something.
The whole world is focused on Covid-19 now, watching the disbursement of vaccines and hoping we can finally tame that beast. But there were other problems before Covid, and there will be many more after Covid. It was a convenient target. It gave us something to hate and rally around. And that ‘s not a bad thing.
But it’s not the only thing.
I remember the end of 2019. Several of us were gathered together on a Friday night for our pot luck dinner. The one that ended in March. The one I hope we can start again this year. But this was 2019, and we talked about the new year and our hopes for it. You see, we had lost several of our neighbors that year. Good people and good friends. It was tough for all of us and tougher for those closest to the loved ones who passed.
It’s got to be better, we said.
Then 2020 yanked the football away before we even got started good.
Amid the Coronavirus, we were fortunate not to lose anyone close to us due to that or any other reason in 2020. And in many ways, that made 2020 a better year than 2019. We know a couple of people who got it and recovered. But a lot of people in other places didn’t. And all of those people were close to someone. Close to someone who had a much worse year than we did. We had to wear a mask. They lost someone dear to them.
It’s a new year. Covid will get contained. It won’t happen right away or all at once. And it will be back. They all come back. Spanish and Swine Flu are still with us. Ebola, SARS, and many other deadly strains of viruses are still out there stalking their next victim. But we don’t worry about them on a day to day basis, and someday, Covid will join that list. It won’t be the biggest thing we have to worry about. But I worry about what that thing will be. It will be something.
But the virus is still with us today. Many people spent New Year’s Eve in an ICU connected to a ventilator. How many? I have no idea; I don’t trust any of the numbers. One side is likely exaggerating them, and the other is almost certainly minimizing them. So, the number is probably somewhere in the middle; it usually is.
So what’s next? I don’t know, but it will be something. Hopefully, it won’t be something that affects everyone. But it will undoubtedly affect someone.
As we move into this new year with hope and optimism, don’t forget empathy. While we celebrate, there is someone not very far away suffering something we know nothing about. They probably live on your street. Whatever diseases or ailments people had before Covid, they still have today and will suffer from it until they suffer no more.
It’s good to have optimism and hope. I think this year will be better too. But it may not be. It may not be a better year for anyone. I hope that’s not true. I don’t know how it could be, but as Gandalf, the Wizard said, “There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.” And there are older and fouler things than Covid-19 out there. Things that are affecting someone, somewhere right now, on this day of hope.
So, remember as you celebrate the new year. I hope it will be better for you. But it won’t be better for everyone.