2020 was a particularly challenging year (I know because I was there). We saw the best of people and we saw the worst of people, and through it all, we endured changes and challenges we never thought possible. I know for me personally, I faced challenges personally, professionally, and even ecumenically (I think this applies, and I know what it means, I also like the sound of it).

There are changes coming in 2021 that I am aware of, as well as changes that I have no idea are coming. It’s not like everything is going to switch back to the way it was once January 1st arrives, nor should it. I think the one thing I’ve learned over the past 12 months is that the people in my life are very important to me. Some I’ve only been able to see through a computer screen; others, I’ve been able to see in person, even at a distance. There are some that I’ve only communicated with via Facebook or through holiday cards, but what has stood out to me is that what I value most in my life is the relationships I have with others.

It doesn’t matter if I’ve known you for a week or for my entire life — you are special to me. Perhaps we haven’t talked in years, or our relationship was severed by some unforeseen circumstance or a decision that one or both of us made. Maybe we have been casual acquaintances for many years, and you don’t know what I think of you. If that’s so, know that you have a place in my heart and I that I’m always rooting for you, no matter what it is you’re doing. I often think about the people I’ve met in my life, those who have come and gone, entered and exited at certain times, just as I have in their lives. I think about what they’re doing, what they’ve accomplished, and what their goals and dreams are for the future. As I figure out my own goals and dreams, I hope that you have set some for yourself that you consider worthwhile and that you have the drive and passion to pursue.

As we say goodbye to 2020, perhaps one of the most challenging years we’ll ever face in our lives, may we not lose sight of that which is most important — the love we have for each other. I know that I am going to make a more concerted effort to reconnect with people over the next year, especially with those connections having been challenged during the past 12 months. It may be something as simple as sending someone a message on Facebook or writing them a letter to let them know that yes, I am still here, and yes, I am happy to know them.

May God bless you in 2021, and may you find whatever it is you seek.

(If you’re feeling real nostalgic/brave, take a look at my recap of 2019 posted way back in January).