By David Jones
In 2020, suffering and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have a couple of things in common:
- You can’t really escape either of them for half a minute.
- They have the same attitude about your comfort. (Hint: IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU WANT!) (Wrestling humor.)
2020 has become a pivotal point in American and human history, an apocalypse where the world afterward will be different than it was before. Folks don’t like that, of course. Change forced upon us is rarely pleasant. I’m going to be happy to see 2020 end, but I’m immensely grateful that it came. Why? Because it has provided a necessary upheaval so many of us needed.
I used the word “apocalypse” in referring to 2020. While it’s generally used to describe “the end of the world,” the Greek roots actually mean “to uncover,” to reveal something that was hidden or unseen. That’s why the Apocalypse of John is called the Book of Revelation. It’s all about pulling back the curtain to see what’s beyond it.
There are a bunch of things which 2020 has revealed—things which shook us up a bit. Reality checks are often painful, so let’s stick a pin in each of our pains so we don’t forget their lessons by January 2nd.
We were so used to going where we wanted when we wanted that it lost meaning. We took so many things for granted and called that “normal.” Now that we have some restrictions, we mourn the loss of Normalcy. That loss shouldn’t be dismissed so readily, but embraced and honored with understanding.
When I was a child, we did big holiday dinners, which was our “normal.” When grandpa died, we stopped having them within a few years, and I don’t think we ever mourned that loss properly. Instead, we carried Change Resentment around with us for years.
We essentially believed that how we saw the world was true reality, but it was actually a combination of what we perceived as well as what others showed us. So often this year I’ve read of folks who lament what people have become, particularly family and friends, saying “they’ve changed!” when often the only thing that changed were circumstances which allowed (or forced) us to see or recognize things which we previously didn’t notice or which others were careful not to show.
I have many friends who’ve treated me very well over the years. By 2020 so many had become caught up in the anger and fear that many of them insulted me indirectly with things they posted online (things rarely written in their own words). Rather than stop being friends, I unfriended them—I divorced myself from the online version of them to keep the offline friendship alive.
I used the word apocalypse in referring to 2020. While it's generally used to describe the end of the world, the Greek roots actually mean to uncover, to reveal something that was hidden or unseen. ~ David Jones Click To Tweet
Particularly in the West, we’ve depended so much on the generally unchanging nature of things like leadership, governance and public civility as cultural norms that they were just “a given” for many of us. Even though we saw certain things we wanted changed, it was all fully set against a backdrop of things we assumed were constant. They were bedrock, so solid and reliable… until an unseen tectonic plate shift violently shook everything up.
As a government employee, I’ve seen what happens when things we assume are permanent and established just disappear. It leaves people reeling and directionless, trying to cope with a loss that can leave scars.
Yes, there’s no denying it: we are addicted to social media. We turn to it night and day, chasing our next fix (no, I said next fix, not Netflix), telling ourselves ,”I’m not addicted. I can quit whenever I…OH LOOK! Distractions and things to get upset about!”
Hi, my name is David Jones, and I am an addict.
We all have bias. We don’t like to believe or recognize that about ourselves because of the connotations, but we have them. They can actually serve a purpose, and if we embrace them (like our angers or fears) it allows us to understand them and make changes if we want.
I’ve read where people defend their “lack of bias” with insults, outrage, and diatribes which manage to put their bias on full display for everyone.
We all need it, and we all need to provide it. I think we all finally saw that in 2020. When I decide to withhold compassion from someone in need, especially because I think they stopped deserving it, I’m the one who has messed up bigly.
Mine took a hit in 2020. Maybe yours did too, or that of someone you cared about. Even the professionals and volunteers who are there for us in our crises are facing their own. 2020 has thrown our need for affordable medical care—with guaranteed mental health benefits—into sharp relief.
It’s precious. We should do what we can to cherish and protect it, even if it means discomfort, inconvenience, or sacrifice.
Life and the world have faced a massive change in 2020, but don’t imagine that we’re done with it yet. Change is the only constant and it doesn’t care what the date is. It doesn’t keep a calendar. Gandalf isn’t standing his ground on December 31st telling change that it shall not pass.
Mindfully embracing the fact of sweeping change, along with all the fears and frustrations that can come with it, will help us face into the tidal wave rather than trying to turn away and getting swamped by it. It’s tough to do, but we can do it.
I have faith in you and in us all.
Editor: Dana Gornall
Did you like this post? You might also like: