Long lines and short tempers. Short on cash but long on hope. Long zoom hours, shortened togetherness. Longer hair and shorter memories of life before lock downs and odd words. Which, alas, are now embedded into everyday.
As the Boston Globe recently reminded me, “2020 introduced or interjected words like: corona virus pandemic, hunger, defund, superspreader event, unprecedented, remote, anti-masker, social distancing, QAnon, asymptomatic, black lives matter, zoom and fraud.” To these I’d add a few more that have caused me anxiety or heightened interest: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, PPE, leadership, vaccine and essential workers.
However, we also began asking or saying over phones, through social media and behind masks, “Are you well?” Or passed along a hopeful, “Stay well.” Somewhere under all the political divisiveness lurked a more caring and kind us in the USA and world.
And so, I’ve wished wellness to the mailman, the woman(yes, a woman) who collects our trash. I good-well-wished David who masterfully hits my front door each morning with the Boston Globe. And grocery store clerks and postal workers behind plastic shields have wished me well. Kindness is catchy, too.
Well, if you need a laugh I recommend you search for Dave Barry’s Year In Review. To whet your appetite, Barry opens with “In the past, writing these annual reviews, we have said harsh things about previous years. We owe those years an apology… this was a year of nonstop awfulness. This was a year when our only moments of genuine, unadulterated happiness were when we were able to buy toilet paper.”
But if you’re too afraid to laugh or google one more suggestion, consider this. The vaccine is here and it might well be titled a miracle. Ignore fears connected to the notion of “warp speed.” Celebrate the diligent work of men and women in labs around the world, and the prayers of many.
And along with the vaccine, more than half of this country feels hope and relief that a new President’s coming. Which reminds me of a story I read this week. Bill or Randy Petersen in the One Year Book of Psalms wrote:
“According to an old story, a traveler walked into a country store in the hills of Kentucky one wintry day in 1809 and asked, ‘Anything new happen around here lately?’ The proprietor almost laughed. ‘Around here, stranger? Nothing happens around here. A baby was born in the Lincoln cabin last night; that’s all.’ “
And today in the midst of the Twelve Days of Christmas we’re reminded of another birth, a world and life changer. Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, was born and placed in a feeding trough. And from that trough, Christ became food to feed our deepest hunger, to know God’s love.
So wherever you are, whatever your daily dreads, don’t be afraid to take the vaccine or to visit your Bethlehem. It’s the place where your hopes and fears meet. And Jesus waits to do more than simply wish you well.
Anyone can do that.
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