What a year it’s been, eh? From the pandemic that has altered life as we know it all over the world, to political and social unrest in the United States, to devastating wildfires here in my home state of California, 2020 has been a doozy. If you had told me in March that the next nine months would be spent in nearly complete isolation, cut off from family, friends and activities in order to avoid a devastating disease, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. I would have also felt immense dread at the prospect. The magnitude of loss and suffering that has occurred this year is heartbreaking, and with every news report on the hundreds of thousands of lives affected by everything that has occurred this year, I pray. I pray for healing for those who have lost loved ones. I pray for the healing of Mother Earth. I pray for those who are afflicted with this disease. I pray for the doctors, nurses and scientists who are undertaking the monumental and exhausting task of taking care of us all.

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

So here we are in December, and while the U.S. election is over and the wildfires long extinguished, the pandemic is still front and center, keeping us shuttered away in our nests, unable to travel or simply go out for a cup of coffee or a beer with a friend. But you know what? This has been one of the most positively transformative years of my life. That’s not to say that this year has been one of wine and roses. Far from it. I have suffered the loss of a loved one, my “retirement” from my profession has looked nothing like I had planned, and I, like many, have endured bouts of loneliness that seemed never-ending. I consider myself blessed to have stayed healthy. I consider myself blessed to have had a tribe to whom I could lean into for support, encouragement and connection. I consider myself blessed to be alive, with a roof over my head and a safe place to sleep every night.

Having life turned on its head has led to some remarkable changes. Life has slowed down and become a bit simpler by virtue of the fact that we have all been forced to become homebodies. It has forced us to become more self-reliant for our happiness. It has revealed creativity and imagination that we never knew existed within ourselves, or just didn’t have the gumption to express. It has allowed the time and space needed to discover what makes us tick. And say what you will about technology and social media, but I believe it was created for just such a year. It has allowed us to stay connected, to find groups and classes and mentors and new friends to help navigate this new normal.

So instead of looking back on this year with lament, I am choosing to look back on it with gratitude for the blessings, strength, perseverance and love that this year has been, all the while holding in my heart those who have suffered loss and heartache.

My sincerest wish is for all to have a blessed holiday season. I am so very grateful for this community of readers and writers, and for the support of those who have allowed my words into your heart. I am so very grateful for my family and friends and the unexpected blessings revealed by this most unusual year.

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