I thought about all the days ahead in the year, fresh and new. For years, people regarded the new year with hope. They looked for improvement in their lives, countries, and the world. After the upheaval of 2020, people may regard 2021 with more apprehension.
But 2021 deserves hope. Even if it isn’t the glittering, shiny-bright hope of past years in which we (I) thought circumstances would instantly be better with the changing of the date, there is hope. There is hope that this year, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, if 2020 was 1, maybe 2021 will be a 3, or a 4, or maybe higher. Perhaps not a 10, but it doesn’t have to be a 1, either.
How can I say that? Consider what we saw last year: people picking up groceries or needed medicine for family, friends, neighbors who couldn’t go out; people organizing food drives or drives for personal goods for those hard-hit by the pandemic, financially or otherwise; musicians who ordinarily would perform in person playing online to raise people’s spirits; artists painting murals in towns; people literally going out of their way to help others. People connected with their families more, perhaps learning new technology to do so; parents, teachers and school districts navigated regulations and technology to enable students to learn; people merged necessity and creativity to do what needed to be done. People went outside in larger numbers, finding the benefits and joys of doing so; they took up new hobbies; they discovered resilience they didn’t know they had. People tried hard to make the circumstances better.
Out of the turbulence of 2020 came clarity—not only with family and what really matters, but also with hidden problems that came to light in large and small areas. When problems are in the light, they can be dealt with. On a small, personal scale, I see character flaws that need worked on. I can’t be content with sweeping them under the rug anymore. Those flaws affect all areas of my life. If I can’t take care of them entirely, I can put up a fight, and make progress. I know I have unhealthy thinking patterns; I am trusting that with God’s help, those will be changed. I have hope.
If each person does what he or she can every day to make the world a better place, even a little thing, such as holding the door open for someone struggling with packages, or “paying it forward” in some way, 2021 has hope.
“Treat others as you want them to treat you.” The Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12 (CEV)