It's no secret that 2020 wasn't the best year for most people. A global pandemic threw a giant curveball in all of our lives. Now that we're stepping into a new year, how do we move on from 2020 and truly enter into 2021?
I want to take a minute to recognize the pain that you may be feeling from this year. It is real.
I know we've been dealing with this for 10+ months now, but that doesn't make it any easier.
Personally, I've felt a lot of pain this year. Not just because of the pandemic, but because of many things that have happened in my personal life - graduating, losing friends, moving across the country, being lonely and isolated. It hasn't been easy.
And though your circumstances might be different than mine, I know that we've all felt some sort of pain this year. I'm here to say, in case no one has acknowledged it yet, that your pain is real, valid, and okay.
Anything and everything you may be feeling after a year like this is completely okay. Feel your feelings.
I think that the problem we might run into as we move into 2021 is the desire for everything 2020 to just magically disappear, like it never happened, or like 2020 was just a blip in our lives.
But it won't disappear. Not in the way we really want.
I've been wanting to dive deep into what's been on my heart these past few months, but I didn't know how until started writing. I wrote a letter to God.
I don't have the answers but I want to share my thoughts, to help you know you're not alone, whatever you may be going through.
So here goes...
What I miss most about pre-March 2020 is people.
At the beginning of quarantine, back in early March, I was blessed to be living with some of my best friends. These were friends who I loved more than anything in the world. I would've done anything for them. I loved to love them. You taught me to love them.
Then, my friends treated me very poorly and I ultimately had to remove myself from the situation.
I was left living alone, with no one in my social bubble. I went to work and I came home to no one and nothing. Anxiety and sadness from social isolation is real, and I lived several months in a not-so-happy place.
Then I moved home to be with my parents for a few months. You called me somewhere new, so I took a job and made plans to move to Idaho.
I was able to work from home for a few months, surrounded by my family. But soon, it came time to move across the country. While I was excited about the move and the adventures I knew it would bring, I soon found that same loneliness that I experienced earlier in the year.
I am lucky to live in a place where I can go on socially-distanced walks/hikes. And work with incredible people who want to get to know me. But those things don't mean it's not lonely.
Before this pandemic I used to see my friends daily. I cooked for them, we went out and had fun, we stayed in and played cards. We did life together. I got to minister to them, even if they didn't know it.
And now I'm not doing life with anyone. I'm just existing.
I'm grateful for my house and hours of free time outside of work. But I'm not going to lie, I miss people. I miss loving people.
You made us to love people, to live in community.
And 2020 has left us in a state of isolation. We're separated from the people who we are called to love and serve. And if we're being honest, we're probably separated from You too.
I know it's all connected. When we love You more, You help us grow in love of others. But when we don't get to love others well, it's harder to receive from You.
You made us all for a very specific purpose, but, more generally, You made us for an ultimate purpose: to love You and to love each other. This year has destroyed our ability to directly love other people.
I don't want to despair. Hope isn't lost. But I won't pretend that it's easy. It's really hard to love people in this time.
And it made me realize how much we need to love people. I'm fine by myself. As in, I'm not depressed or in a state of despair. But I'm not really living.
Lord, You didn't call us to live for ourselves. You want us to live for each other. You want us to give to our neighbor.
So how do we do this as we move forward into a new year?
I DON'T KNOW.
I don't have the answers. God, I need you to help me. I want to love people but I can't get physically close enough to anyone to really love them.
It's like you taught me how to love people and then you immediately took all of that away from me. I had just grown into a person that understood the importance of living for the other. And now suddenly I can't. What the heck?
And also, now what?
Where are you taking this world?
Lord, you are so good. Glory to Jesus Christ.
But, Lord we're so lost. We don't know how to go on. The only consistent thing in this world that we have is You. You are our rock.
We have to trust You. But what do we do? How do we keep going? There's been so much pain in our lives this year and we can't go on like this.
Please, Lord. Save us. Save us from the depths of pain, suffering, and sorrow. Unite our sufferings to those of Your son, Jesus, on the cross. There is no other way.
And, Lord, bring peace. Send the sunrise after the darkest night we've ever seen.
I hope you could relate in some way to my letter to God. Normally I'd try to come up with some action steps or advice to conclude a post like this. I definitely want you to have takeaways from my writing.
But I don't really have anything.
I think that we have to just let go and learn to trust in the Lord. That's it. That's the secret.
We don't need action steps or 5 key takeaways. We just need to trust.
So here's to learning to trust.
Want to read more? I've written about Navigating Life Changes, Our Catholic Identity, Prayer Walks, and more.
a daughter of the Lord who eats lots of plants. I’m glad you’re here! On The Plant-Based Catholic I bring you nutritious, plant-based (vegan) recipes, explore the relationship between food and faith, and share my unique lifestyle.
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