Words of the Year



As these final days of 2020 draw to a close, I have been in a reflective mood. School is out, work is done, and the new year is dawning. At a Christmas Zoom gathering of friends around the country, we were asked to bring six words that described 2020.


The person who suggested the activity only had five:


Why?!?

What?!?

How?!?

When?!?

Where?!?


I think we can all claim those!


2020 has been described in so many negative ways, and rightfully so. In finding my words, I found that most of them incorporated the negative and the positive. The challenges and blessings have come side by side all year. Here are my six words and a few of the reasons for each. As this year comes to a close, I challenge you to come up with your six words. Let me know about them – even if you can only come up with one. Or five. 


1) Emotional – The year started with a trip to the Holy Land. Quarantine started with a wedding that we pulled off with 24 hours’ notice. My daughter’s senior year has been decimated, with all the things she’s been working towards canceled. Vacations were canceled. The family was home and we’ve really enjoyed the time to be creative and connect. We also needed desperately to have interactions with absolutely anyone else. My children have found ways to make the best of the situation, and I couldn’t be prouder. Lots of highs. Lots of lows


2) Challenging – Every time we thought we had a plan, we had to change it. Every time we held something tightly, we had to let it go. With each loss came the opportunity to figure out what we could do and how we could do it. I love puzzles, and this was a year of life-size ones that I could take on or not. For the most part, I took them on.


3) Grateful – There are lots of things I take for granted. Sometimes it takes something like this to help me see what I’m not seeing. The mail carrier who delivers my mail. Every. Day. (except Sunday). The sanitation workers who picked up the trash every week. Smiles where you can see teeth. My husband and the way he gets us outside and active. My children and how they pitch in, even if they occasionally need to be pushed to do so. My work drying up and allowing me to focus my energies on my family who needed me, and then picking back up again as they returned to “normal.” Sunshine and gentle breezes. Front yard happy hours. Back porch fires in the fireplace.


4) Reflective – As a spiritual director, I am privileged to be a part of many people’s spiritual journeys. As a result, I see their struggles, but also their breakthroughs. As many of them took on this pandemic with the attitude of retreat and cloister, I was inspired to do the same.


5) Waiting – Waiting for news. Waiting for test results. Waiting for a job to start. Waiting for election results. Waiting for things to open. Waiting for things to close. Waiting in line. Waiting at home. If virtues are made stronger with practice, patience should be looking like the Terminator about now - there has been ample opportunity.



6) Blessed – In all of this, I have been blessed. Bottom line, whether I have felt it or not. Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.



What are your words?


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