Blessed beyond belief

Angela Ide, Opinions Editor

Angela Ide spent the summer of 2020 at the Camp Four Heroes Girl Scout Camp as a camp counselor, before heading into her school year at Seattle Pacific University. (Courtesy of Angela Ide)

Doom and gloom reigned in the heart of humanity this last year, or so that is what they say. I, personally, refuse to believe that this last year was worthless, empty, a mistake, or a glitch in the system.

In so many ways, the world woke up.

Agendas and the business of everyday life were ground, roasted, and brewed in the suffocating heat of isolation like a good cup of coffee. The warmth and energy given from the cup allowed for a refreshed, enlightened perspective to take on the coming challenges.

We all got a hard-reset. 

Because the world and all its moving parts stopped simultaneously and back-up systems kept the bare necessities as available as possible, everyone was ready to listen in new and different ways. Forced to start looking at the world around us and weigh the price of our choices and the systems we maintain, our blind and jaded eyes were refreshed.

The year—this world—wouldn’t have been the same if the majority of the workforce had to shift overnight and political conversations became about saving lives and protecting the people instead of policies and party lines.

The lockdown set the stage for the real miracle of 2020: the space for change.

As March and April came and went, orders from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention started to flush out the vastness of this global pandemic and issues of police brutality and abusive law enforcement created an overwhelming wake-up call to the corrupt systems that were put into place.

As impactful, important and horrendous as George Floyd’s death was, if the privileged populations hadn’t been sequestered to their homes and given time and space to fully appreciate the inescapable injustices in the system that they had never experienced, then Flloyd’s death would have faded into the countless other deaths of historically forgotten and faceless black Americans who were murdered just for living at the hands of their protectors.

But, the summer came to an end, the working world found new ways to thrive. The need to support your family members by locking yourself in the temporary home office that used to be a living room. The call of online classes asked students to find ways to learn on their own with the limited resources and reach of already overworked teachers, in some of those home offices.

We ran back to “normal” as fast as we could, but that just isn’t an option anymore.

Now that the world has decided that work comes second to the health and safety of people, over-working under-paid employees no longer seems ethical. Talking about relief for the differing impacts on socio-economic classes and the injustice of “minimum” wages, suddenly changes the perspective on how the majority treats other minority groups.

The world will never be the same as it once was. But many of us, myself included, weren’t ready to make a new normal and much rathered the simplicity and comfort of the old. So, we ran.

We ran to find a way to make plans as if nothing had changed, we ran to old hobbies as if they could stop the passage of time, and we ran to the deepest, darkest insecurities that we keep buried in our hearts.

Because we often choose comfortable pain over an unforeseeable future.

Then, the second wave hit.

Restaurants that were just hanging on by a thread, had to hold off on in-person services once again, and focus on orders and deliveries. For the safety of family members and friends, holidays were limited and gatherings were all but avoided. Again, the world shifted.

Video calls that were regularly made for ordinary, heavy meetings and classes became colored, decorative, and connective over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Out of that, new traditions were born.

Card games and board games became streamed online party-pack style games like Jackbox. Gifts were exchanged through the mail and delivered far and wide, and Christmas morning calls shared the looks of surprise and thanks. Holiday meals came after months of new recipes tried and new backing skills learned in the freedom and liberty of your own home.

Upon deliberation and following a lot of big changes, a full-head shave and new is all Angela Ide needs to celebrate the wonderful insanity of 2020. (Angela Ide)

Some families stuck to the traditional turkey roast, while others adventured into cultural foods, or just whatever was most meaningful to them. Some families ate food that had been delivered from a place they had never been to before. Some went back to nostalgic little diners that held memories in every bite.

Full creative freedom was found in the necessity to connect safely.

Before any of us had had time to gather our thoughts or prepare for the long-awaited moment, the year was over. Quietly, the world slipped into the year 2021 with little more than a whisper.

I think that was the most important lesson we learned this last year; we learned that every day, every week, and every year is as good as you make it.

No matter who the President of the United States is, this year has shown Americans that we are the hands and feet of this nation. Whether or not we choose to follow the political leader, change is made when people help each other and communities come together in solidarity.

We also learned that it doesn’t take a promise or a holiday to inspire change in ourselves and in the world.

As the clock struck twelve, moving us from one calendar to the next, no one felt the need to make New Year’s Resolutions. Because it was in the everyday acts of living in an attempt to leave this world a little better than we found it that changed everything. Honest, genuine change happens when we put the needs of people and the world around us first, allowing grace and sincerity in the midst of change.

One of the hardest challenges any of us will ever face is the uncomfortable, uncontrollable seasons of change that we will continue to be faced with. This year was a season that the whole world felt at once. 

I can’t wait to see what we do with the changes that have been made and all the ones that are still in progress. This was the year the world woke up. Let us walk freely into this next year with our eyes wide open.