The year 2020 has drawn to a close. Toward the end, memes were prolific on social media pleading and rejoicing in the end of an unprecedented year in human history. The Covid-19 Pandemic changed us in many ways that a year before, we could not have predicted.
Amidst the horrors and losses that many lived through, the strength of the human spirit endured . It was not so evident on social media, where anger and ugliness rose to new heights. But throughout history those who are left to pick up the pieces of shattered dreams, of tragedy, do just that and keep moving. Depression, hopelessness and illness slow us and stall some of us to immobility. The human spirit endures and transcends. This is evident when “Helpers” appear, as the mother of Fred Rogers called them. Those who aid the plight of the suffering, who understand and care about the feelings of the downtrodden emerge.
There are others who appear. The “Change-Makers” are more outspoken and visible. They may have connections or skills which allow them to enact positive change. Those who are able push for human rights and improvements. Scientists and researchers find cures and methods of prevention which help to make the world healthier and safer.
All move humanity forward. Skeptics rail, but though perhaps annoying, they also play an important part in the stimulation of critical thinking. Thoughts and opinions and hypotheses are strengthened and better processes and methods are developed. Outliers are needed in order to open minds to new ideas, to test theories or simply to test mettle and character.
Though the time we are living through is indeed unprecedented in magnitude and global awareness, it is not in terms of human experience. Humanity has suffered through pandemics and plagues and injustice. It has experienced world wars and local wars and genocides. Millions have lost lives, lost freedom, lost loved ones, lost their homes. What have we learned?
Each life is as important as another, especially to a loved one left grieving. It is excruciating to bear, and hope in the future is maimed. How do we go on?
We grieve, each on an individual time line. We take one step at a time– or someone helps to take that step for us. Little by little our strength returns. The Helpers and the Change Makers keep the things moving which we cannot. When we are strong enough, we take on those roles for others. We inspire others to do the same. We begin to assess what is still good, now. We are grateful for experiences we had. We begin to see that there can be more good ahead.
The world may look very different in 2021. Time and humanity will continue. The future may look different, but here in the present we can remember the good things, we can perform a kind act, we can simply persevere to the next moment. We can look outside of ourselves, and think of others. We can pray. Those prayers have an effect on us, on others. There is a ripple effect that makes real differences in the world. It makes differences in you.
Happy New Year, 2021