What Have We Learned???

“The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. 
 It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering,
 it is also full of the overcoming of it.

                                                                                                                     —Helen Keller

On the 3rd or 4th Sunday in January our Church conducts its Annual Meeting.  Like many other religious organizations, we use this time to review our finances, pass a  budget, elect new members to our Vestry, and provide the congregation with an update on what was accomplished during the past year.  Following the meeting we normally convene in the Parish Hall for continued discussion, a luncheon and fellowship; normal ended on March 22.  We will hold our Annual Meeting again this year, but not at our Church.  Like so many others, we will utilize technology and meet virtually to conduct our business.  While not ideal, the fact that we have been able to continually provide weekly ministries since ending live worship in March is a blessing and a testament to our growth as a viable house of worship.   Yes, we have grown and become a better version of what we were.  Hopefully no less is true for your organization and you!

The “Greene County Record” is a small weekly newspaper serving residents of the Charlottesville VA area.  In a recent editorial the paper asks the question, “What have we learned in 2020?”  I thought the response was worth sharing:

  • Patience – It may be a virtue, but it’s not easy to have. You need to dig deep for it while waiting for a COVID-19 test or an election recount.

  • Flexibility – We’ve all had to alter plans due to the pandemic, but rolling with the punches is a skill that will serve us well in the future.

  • Strength –  It takes pressure to make a diamond.  This year has been filled with pressure and we’re still standing—and like a diamond nearly indestructible, too.

  • Resilience –  We kept going—one step at a time, one day at a time—only to do it again the next day.

  • Appreciation –  When everything closed and everyone wondered how many of us would get sick with the virus, what was most important came clearly into focus: family, faith and forgiveness. 

  • Charity –  In the most difficult of times we still saw individuals, organizations and businesses reach out to lend a helping hand.  We witnessed some of our best moments.

  • Activism –  This year had a theme of activism, from Black Lives Matter protests to the get-out-the-vote campaigns.  More people voted in the 2020 presidential election than in any other U.S. election in history.

  • Well-being –  Taking care of our mental and physical health is necessary to make it through a year like this, but prioritizing it is something we need to do more often.

  • Gratefulness –  While it’s not quite a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of year, taking a moment to be grateful is well-deserved. Finding gratitude under so much pressure is not easy, but having gratitude makes the pressure a little easier to handle.

This New Year provides us with a unique opportunity; to look back at the previous year with true 2020 vision. It will be easy to focus on the year’s disappointments, but the true challenge will be found thinking about the “blessings” you received. Think about the people who make your life better. Think about the abundance that fills your life. Think about the resilience that fills your body and soul. Think about laughter, precious memories, and moments of beauty that were a part of 2020, and know they will be even more abundant in 2021.

Happy New Year
Embrace the Challenge