What a year we have had! When, in recent history, have we shared a similar reality-shifting experience like this pandemic? Even though this time has been challenging, I feel we were given a unique opportunity to reflect and grow together over these last ten months of insecurity and worry.
As many of you know, I am a positive person, and my bent is to find the silver lining in every cloud. I was interested to discover the silver lining idiom stems from Comus, a poem by John Milton dating from 1634. I find it fascinating that this historic stanza has encouraged us to look for the positive for almost four centuries!
If there has ever been a year for us to purposefully look for the good in the bad, it was 2020. We needed to hunt for reasons to hope while we were stuck in a persistent quarantine from the life as we knew them. When considering the changes 2020 brought to my life I found many examples of real encouragement. Even though we have been separated from one another, I believe the experience has given us more appreciation for being together, for sharing hugs with the people we care about. I come from a big Italian family that loves large, loud gatherings with a lot of hugs and kisses – not very Covid-19 friendly in general. I truly miss them.
We also understand more than we ever have that the presence of others in sickness and grief is irreplaceable in bringing comfort and dividing sorrow. And our concern for our lives and the lives of our families has led us to be much more grateful for good health. All of us have felt somewhat trapped in our homes, but we have had the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and engage with our families in new ways. My family and I have enjoyed several Indiana State Parks this year.
I have also been impressed with the adaptations within the business world. We have found creative ways to connect and build relationships virtually with our co-workers and customers. Many offices were able to develop workplace flexibility to ensure the health of their employees, the care of their loved ones and the security of their job. I am not sure if we would have ever dreamed these changes possible without the lockdowns of 2020.
The pandemic has helped me on my quest to cherish the simple times and to put aside the chaotic busyness for the things that matter to me. I have come to appreciate rest and being restored. I also believe we as a whole are considerably more resilient than we were in March. 2020 reminds me of a quote my sister Christina gave me a while back: “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
Finally, 2020 left me even more grateful for the precious things in life – my family and friends, my health, and you, my clients, that I have the privilege to serve every day.
My heart goes out to those who experienced the worst of this pandemic year – job loss, Covid-19 diagnosis, the tragic passing of a loved one – or all three. I pray for a new job, recovered health, and comfort in your grief. As we enter the beauty of this season, I hope you find silver linings in both this past year and in every cloud you may encounter in 2021.