It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the end of 2019 and the start of 2020. Yet, here we are at the end of 2021, reflecting on the past year, and looking forward to the next. What were your highlights? What were your lows? What words would you use to describe 2021?
My year was a bit of a blur. But I would use the words expectancy, joy, and provision. I spent the majority of 2021 joyfully expecting the baby I had spent 13 months waiting for and praying for. I saw God’s provision, and I’m still in awe of His blessings.
I would also use the words sickness, isolation, and loneliness. My family and I were sick at least once a month starting in July, and then all five of us got Covid, and I was in quarantine for a solid month. That month was clearly isolating and lonely, but so was the year as a whole.
In many ways, 2021 was a lot easier than 2020, but a few things continued over. One of the main things was my community or lack thereof.
In 2019 to the first few months of 2020, I felt like I had finally found my people. I had stay at home mom friends I could get together with for play dates with our kids. I had working friends I could get coffee with. It was what I had dreamed about since I was a little Air Force Brat who moved every two to three year and never really found a place to belong.
Then 2020 hit, and everything just kind of fell apart. Everyone had different comfort levels, different opinions, different approaches to the world around us, and my community just drifted away. When things settled down a bit, I was dealing with morning sickness and kids that that talk me out and drain me of the majority of the energy needed to carry on a conversation via texting (if you haven’t gotten responses from me, I still love you, I just don’t always have the energy at the end of the day, when the kids are in bed, to respond, or l saw your message when I was in the middle of something and I forget to respond..)
I realized how isolated I was when I met my two youngest brothers’ girlfriends this summer. One of them called me “ma’am” and the other girlfriend’s mom is younger than my husband. I felt old, and I didn’t have anyone I immediately thought to text about it. My kids had maybe three or four playdates all year. Overall it was an isolating year.
As I look forward to 2022, my hope for this coming year is for community. Community for me, my husband and my kids.
We need each other. We were made to live in community, not alone.
It’s a little scary, these days! Pre-2020 there were things like: do you keep your kids rear facing past 22lbs, two years, or until the reach the upper weight limit? Do you vaccinate your kids according to the recommended schedule, a delayed schedule, or at all? Do you give your kids sugar, red dye,dairy, GMOs? Do you let your kids watch TV? All things we may have had differing opinions on, but for the most part, we knew we were all doing what we thought was best.
Now, things get heated. Are you vaccinated? Are you current on your boosters? Do you wear a mask? Do you social distance? Where have you been? The risk of rejection seems higher now as our opinions and previously private decisions are now used as criteria for whether or not we associate with others or whether or not they associate with us. The lines of personal decision and public health have been blurred over the last two years. We think we have a right to know where each other stand, and then decisions are made with that information. I know of family members who are refusing to see unvaccinated family members, and if family members are excommunicating each other, what do friends do? It’s scary!
I don’t have all of the answers. But I do know that we were made to live in community.
We need to put people above politics.
We need to love despite our differences—and maybe because of them.
As long as decisions and actions are not sinful or contrary to God’s Word, we need to respect the decisions made by others and trust that that they are doing their best with information they have, as it is processed through the lens of their experiences.
We need to give grace.
We need to pray.
We need to walk in humility, recognizing we don’t have all of the answers.
We need to try.
We need each other.
As a friend, I want to be a safe place. Vaccinated or unvaccinated, agree or disagree, I love you. I might not text back right away, but I still love you.
Let’s get coffee.
Let’s plan a play date.
What are your hopes for the coming year?