It is amazing how much clearer things are on the other side of a thing. I’m sure you’ve heard it said, hindsight is 2020. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hindsight as: perception of the nature of an event after it has happened. It’s only when we have the perspective of time or distance that we understand or recognize what was occurring during a given circumstance. So often when we are going through something, we are either laser focused on the ‘thing’ or distracted by the peripheral – missing the ‘thing’ altogether.
Well, here we are on the other side of the year 2020 and I imagine there are many things you’ve learned about yourself and others during this historic year. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we operate. Things that we considered “normal” changed, and we began living a “new-normal”.
Suddenly, we were thrust into a hunt for toilet paper, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, water, eggs, milk, rice, and beans (I’ve probably missed a few items, but suffice it to say - all non-perishables).
Theater houses were forced to suspend plays and close their doors; movie theaters were forced to close and suspend the showing of movies. International travel was suspended, vacations canceled, dining out became an outdoor affair. Birthday parties, graduations and other celebrations became drive-up or drive-by occasions.
Church became a virtual experience as church leadership honored the recommendations of their states and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Schools became distance learning institutions with teachers and students meeting virtually. Companies and businesses that were able allowed employees to work from home, while others had to release employees.
Our healthcare and frontline workers were over-inundated as they worked tirelessly to help those who were affected by severe COVID symptoms. And tragically, COVID stripped us of our ability to be with our loved ones who were hospitalized, and healthcare workers comforted and stood in proxy for families.
And then there was the very public murder of George Floyd, which incited public expressions of frustration and anger (through peaceful and some not-so-peaceful protests) over the state of racial affairs in our country.
So, what perception or perspective do I have now that I didn’t have when we were in the midst of 2020?
I’m still working through this, but I would like to share a few hind-sights that stand out to me at this time.
1. Preparation is vitally important (I know this, but I wasn’t prepared).
2. We are more creative than we can imagine (we are created in HIS image, and God is the master creator).
3. I (we - maybe) needed an interruption to my (our) regular day-in day-out life (lives). The interruption/disruption caused me to evaluate what’s truly important and what’s not.
4. Mental and emotional health is greatly challenged during times of extreme change – be available to others – stand with them.
5. We (those who are believers in Jesus Christ) ARE the church. We do not have to physically congregate at a church building to “go to church” (virtual services abound) OR to be the church to others.
6. Technology has its benefits. Zoom, Google Meet, and other platforms for gathering virtually have sustained and connected us.
7. We need God! (always have)
This is not an exhaustive list, but it highlights a few things that came to mind as I pondered.
There is blessing in hindsight. It is during our reflection and pondering of what has been that we come to appreciate what we’ve gained or have come to understand during that snapshot in time.
May we allow what we learn in hindsight to inform what we do in the now.