(Caveat: if you have lost a loved one this past year — whether to covid or suicide or just old age — this post may not be for you, and may seem callous in the face of deep and abiding grief.)
When I remember back to January 2020 — the New Year of a new decade — all I do is laugh. I remember how everyone was saying this year was going to be different — making visioning boards and strategic plans with the theme of “20/20 Vision.” 2020 was going to be the year when everyone got 20/20 vision, when everything came into focus, when we made our lives fully and completely our own — cutting out the excesses and honing our best selves. We planned for the year that would bring our truest selves and our best relationships into focus. And then Kobe tragically died, and we started sliding downhill into what would turn into our lives’ greatest landslide. All of our best laid plans… gone. We spent most of the year barely hanging on. Forget the 20/20 vision, we could barely see straight.
As we consider turning the corner, saying goodbye to 2020 and looking towards 2021, I think of that vision that we created on January 1. As I think consider the “2020 Vision,” I am reminded of this poem, from an anonymous Civil War solider:
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but got everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all people, most richly blessed.
It is that line towards the end that really tugs at me “I got nothing that I asked for, but got everything that I have hoped for.” And it certain seems true for the year 2020: I don’t think any of us got what we put on our Vision Boards. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20 though and I think as we look back on the year, while it was nothing that we had planned for, we all have a clearer vision of what is most important in our worlds. As we head into 2021… I, for one, have:
- a deeper understanding of the need for holding family & friends close
- a renewed commitment to a slower pace
- a clearer vision of injustices in the world
- a deeper understanding of issues of health and wholeness
- a truer appreciation of the beauty of art and music, and how it buoys the soul
- and a renewed commitment to making out world a place with dignity for all humanity.
So maybe we got our 20/20 Vision after all. Maybe we leave 2020 behind seeing a vision of the road ahead. May, just maybe, as we look at 2020 thru the rearview mirror, we will come to understand that this was a year that, despite ourselves, we found our 20/20 Vision — that throughout it all we now see more clearly after all.
When I look back in hindsight on this year of strange and uncertain times, I find myself believing only in one true and powerful thought: that I am, among all people, most richly blessed.
May the hindsight of 2020 bring you a vision of blessedness as well.
A very Happy New Year to you all.