My first blog of the year was called 20/20 Foresight. This essay will serve as a concluding bookend, an epitaph for the year that is coming to a close.
I’ve now gone back a few times and looked at my 2020 vision book. I wanted to see why we had been blindsided. A vision board is a collage representing things you would like in your life. It isn’t a fortunetelling device like a crystal ball – it’s more a Year in Preview – about being intentional and paying attention. Back in January, I tried to imagine the year ahead: how will 2020 unfold? Given that 20/20 is the standard used by eye doctors to indicate keen vision, I had high hopes for a year full of insights. Ha. Ha. Well, there have been many revelations — about public health, disease avoidance, and immunity boosting — just not ones I anticipated or wished for.
People could apply many labels to the year that is winding down; however, most would be neither positive nor polite. While I generally avoid absolutes, I’ll make an exception. People would agree – “It’s not the year I expected…” And, it’s unlikely that we’ll find redemption in the 13 remaining days [unless you happen to have a high lottery number for the COVID-19 vaccine, which means you’re either a front-line health care hero or have a severe underlying medical condition. Depending on your category, kudos or regrets. [For those interested, here’s the rationale for the CDC’s vaccine distribution priority list.]
COVID may have seemed like an unpleasant surprise, but even before this year, scientists had already been sweating the possibilities of pandemic and the fragility of our response systems. Netflix’s Pandemic: How To Prevent An Outbreak series was released in January 2020. Given filming times, this documentary had been in production for years. Its unveiling was auspicious, arriving as it did between hints of a monster lurking and the widespread escape of COVID-19. Dr. Dennis Carroll, director of USAID’s Emerging Threats Unit, warns in Pandemic: “When we talk about another flu pandemic happening, it’s not a matter of if, but when.” So, it’s not only a matter of who knew what when, but also why didn’t we know? And added to that were those who downplayed its seriousness, claiming the virus was a hoax, including some who showed up at hospitals with symptoms from their “imaginary” illness.
Back to the vision board: In January, my spirituality group had spent a day at Kris’ for our annual visioning retreat. She encouraged us to be open to Spirit. Now I’m thinking: people plan; God laughs [Of course, in a loving way: “Silly humans!”]. The cover looks benign and welcoming. Except perhaps the placement of river rocks, looking as if they could crush the welcome. Maybe the quote has a clue: “Rather than living a life of resistance and trying to disprove our basic situation of impermanence and change, we should contact the fundamental ambiguity and welcome it.”
On the inside page, there’s a woodcut of a wave crashing down. with pieces of floating debris. It looks like a massive hand reaching to grab or pluck. The unprecedented global crisis has affected not only health but livelihoods. And even with the vaccine’s arrival, experts expect a bleak winter ahead. We need to remember that we can’t escape the fundamental fragility of our humanity, and yet “Our daily lives are the vehicles for awakening, for freeing ourselves and others from suffering.”
The back cover has a butterfly, a sign of metamorphosis, and sprouting wheat, symbolizing growth. Can we “Let it go”? What lessons will we take forward? What did our experiences in 2020 teach us?
As we anticipate 2021, may we:
Welcome the blessings
Find strength to deal with hardships
Be open to hope…*
© Joan S Grey, 18 DEC 2020 ∞
IndexCardCure™: 2020 — Let us see…
* Haiku inspired by a book given by Mati: The Art of Pausing. Thanks for the lovely gift!