It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The year 2020 felt like a decade unlike any other and Dickens’ words from the first sentence of a Tale of Two Cities seem eerily precise in capturing the unfolding realities of this moment. For decades nothing really changes and then a decade of changes happens in a week. Get used to different.

Light Beneath the Surface

In many ways 2020 has been the “worst of times”. Yet, out of so much tragedy, there are constant signs of light if you look just a little bit beneath the surface.

Tracking back over ten months of journal entries surfaced these thoughts.

Thoughts 1-10 From 2020

1. A year that forced us apart brought us together. Zoom Christmas and kindness.

2. There has never been a day that the sun did not rise. Hope reigns.

3. Real hope only comes after we have tasted despair. It’s only when we have fully known broken dreams.

4. Uncertain seasons will soon be translated as an aha instead of an oh no.

5. Stay open to the possibilities of resurrection in the things you thought were dead.

6. It’s hard to keep the pounds off when you are neighbour to a fridge.

7. Zoom is a room.

8. Wash your hands + wear a mask + physically distance = love.

9. Maintain physical, not social distance. Mental health is created socially.

10. There are more churches in Alberta than the combined total of Tim Hortons and gas stations. The slumbering giant needs to be awakened.

11 – 20

11. Evangelical Christians aged 55+ are seen as the most gullible demographic in North America.

12. Bill and Melinda Gates are gracious people.

13. Calm is contagious.

14. The two words, “silent” and “listen” consist of the same letters arranged differently.

15. People with sight in only one eye can legally drive a vehicle.

16. Gathering in a building is the number one commandment for some Christians.

17. The greatest leaders confront the brutal facts but never lose hope.

18. Six feet apart means you won’t be six feet under.

19. Resilience is persistence through resistance.

20. Heroes, like the police, can quickly become zeroes.

21-30

21. Cancel culture is all cancel and no culture.

22. Lies spread faster than truth.

23. Vacations should be mandatory.

24. Solitude is not the same as isolation. It’s better.

25. Small businesses make up 95 per cent of all businesses in Alberta and employ nearly a half-million people. 23% of Edmonton businesses closed in 2020 and another 31% are at risk in 2021.

26. The Big Spend in July 2020 contributed $64 million of benefit to the Canadian economy by encouraging local spending. One local church took $5000 from their general fund and gave it away to local businesses to help keep them afloat. The next Big Spend is coming up in July 2021 but we don’t have to wait till then to shop local.

27. Child sexual abuse gets zero public attention because it has the word “sex” in it. 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys in Canada are sexually abused..

28. Domestic violence, child abuse, anxiety, alcohol sales, drug overdoses, and unemployment are all rising in double or triple digit percentages. Childhood trauma, addiction and mental illness exist together.

29. Intersectionality is the oppression Olympics.

30. Skilled leaders like Dr. Deena Hinshaw do their work in obscurity until thrust into the spotlight by crisis. Success happens when preparation meets opportunity.

31-36

31. Churches lamenting the loss of community influence in the last century are given an opportunity to be builders of community in the coming year.

32. There’s something new and yet ancient happening through loosely-organized groups. A return to community-based care. 35,000 needs have been met since March through an Edmonton-based Facebook group.

33. Christian leaders, who for decades insisted online ministry was invalid, pivoted online in a few days. Some leaders, like Nicki Gumble, founder of the Alpha Course, acknowledged the validity of online and promoted it’s effectiveness to build vulnerable, authentic communities.

34. Old is new. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

35. Adapted and evolved were the words of 2020. Resilience and empathy will be words of 2021.

36. Love does.

What did you observe in 2020? Please join the conversation and leave a comment at the bottom of this post. And share this post on Facebook and Twitter using the buttons at the bottom of the page. Thank you.

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Bob Jones

Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 41 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

2 Comments

  • Thanks Bob, I needed that. As you know I am not an optimistic person, so I am very grateful to have you in my life.
    May God bless you and your family greatly in 2021.

  • Bob Jones says:

    Hey, Gary. So good to hear from you. You always keep coming back. Resilience is in the return. Good to know you are well and engaging life on your terms. Keep at it in 2021. You are a fighter for the voiceless. Hard work. Good work. Jesus never said it would be easy, but that he would be faithful.

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