I can't imagine the amount of pressure on you right now. The ways we have talked about 2020, our wishing it was over and that you were here already, hoping changing one number will also change our "luck."
The truth is you start with so many disadvantages. With so many scars from the year that came before, from the *years* that came before you. The baggage is real and it is heavy. And us wishing that it all would disappear with the turning of a calendar page does not make it so.
We bring with us broken systems, systematic racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, a world groaning in response to our bad stewardship and our worship of power and wealth.
The circumstances, the underlying issues that made all that we faced in 2020 exponentially worse for most people are still present.
You'll have to forgive me if I don't join the festive celebrations saying good riddance to 2020 and pinning all our hopes on you. Because 2020 was a crash course for us, and too many of us skipped class.
Class continues, if we choose to keep (or start) paying attention. If we don't give in to the myth that everything is going up from here.
Because in 2020 the wealthy had their coffers grow and grow while debates raged on about how much rent money the government could spare for the rest.
Because the "essential" workers in our economy are the ones who are paid the least and have the least protections.
Because race continues to play a role in how people are treated by health care providers and law enforcement (and every other area of life too).
Because our educational system is full of inequalities and there are no easy answers.
Because we need to work on our understanding of freedom and perhaps decide compassion, stewardship, justice are just as valuable.
In the past when I've written these letters to the coming year, I've focused on what I wanted, needed, hoped. But this year, this turning of the calendar page, I feel the world's pressure and hope that all the bad will stay contained in 2020.
Except, like all things in life, 2020 wasn't all bad. There was some confirmation bias at work as we found ourselves drawn in to every example of bad news. Life is complicated and layered. And 2021 you will be too.
You bring with you the hope of widespread vaccination and you require us to be patient as that process takes time. You bring some people hope in a new President in the United States and widespread, deep division as others view this change with fear. You will bring with you births and deaths, new opportunities and painful good-byes, new love and broken hearts.
Dear 2021, may we see you fully. Not as a foil to the year 2020, but as a continued opportunity to learn, to grow, and to love.
With hope and compassion,