As we finally get ready to bid adieu to 2020, I did a non-random survey of friends to see what good we could salvage from a tough year.  Turns out people found a lot of positives like the following:

1.  Getting to know neighbors, neighbors’ dogs, etc. (at a safe distance of course)

2. Cleaning out storage rooms and finding treasures: As one family history buff put it: “I’ve   been digging, digitizing, documenting, and distributing.  Favorable family responses have brought me to tears many times.  As I sorted and shared, I, too, was enriched and enlivened as my family members from former years related their life stories.  Surely, all were pandemic survivors who had moved on with faith and hope. Their experiences said again and again to me: You will survive, too.”

3.  Being more creative about connecting with relatives and friends: coloring together over Zoom, family book groups, etc.

4. More attention to healthy eating, cooking, inventing recipes and dining together.

5. Having so many wonderful sources of culture, entertainment and news online. People became more discerning about media use.   

6. Learning to develop forgiveness toward persons whose political, COVID-19 mitigation attitudes and actions differ so widely. As one meme says, we are learning to allow them their right to be wrong even when they may not be returning the favor.

7. Reading more and listening to more podcasts about a wider variety of topics.

8.  Taking time to do home improvements and home beautification: from replacing sump pumps to adding a new quilt to the décor. Also discovering what you can do for yourself, if you have to like kids’ haircuts. 

9. Becoming more intentional about prayer and worship because we can’t do it the same old way. Online church attendance went mainstream.  As a pastor friend pointed out, it was a great year to invite people to church because they didn’t have to dress up and feel awkward about going to a new place where they might not know anyone. As he said: “just at the time when people felt the need for spiritual comfort, we accidentally stumbled into a new way to do church that made that comfort accessible.”

10. Spending more time in nature: bird watching, etc.

11. Accommodations like attending meetings electronically, grocery deliveries, etc. originally just for people with disabilities became commonplace and saved people time and effort.

12. Learning that there is joy in a simpler schedule with less rushing around to activities and events.

13. Realizing the importance of community: people remained giving to charities at high levels even with an economic downturn. Many acts of individuals helping neighbors and family were noted.

14.Thinking more about gratitude, priorities and learning things about themselves. As one woman said: “No matter how low, how defeated, and how lost I have felt, I have the inner strength to push through, persevere and continue to grow. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever knew. I learned that I will be ok.”

15. To end on a lighter note, The Literary Review, a British literary magazine, announced that it will not be awarding its annual Bad Sex in Fiction award in 2020.  Said the editors: The judges felt the public had already been subjected to too many bad things this year to justify exposing it to bad sex as well.

The editors went on to say that they anticipate a rash of entries next year as lockdown regulations give rise to all manner of novel sexual practices.

          Farewell 2020!