Dear 2020, 

You were filled to the brim with warm hellos and tearful goodbyes, so fitting as my word for the year was “aloha”. Though you did not allow me to return to Hawaii as planned, you did bring me to the practice of Sabbath. You were so hard and long and lonely. There were many tears of letting children go, of sorting through what life means after the decades of non-stop demands that come with being a mommy to many. You brought me back to the pain of infertility, as I was forced to begin living life with a new form of empty arms – the emptying nest form. This redefinition was forced upon me, just like the redefinition of all societal norms and practices.  

This year we worked from home; we went to school from home; and we attended church from home. 2020 you forced us to redefine everything, in every way, almost every day, just the like Invisalign orthodontics I wore all year long that constantly applied pressure in order to realign. Our family did not lose anyone to COVID-19, though many we love became ill, some taking a hit by the virus much harder than others. You took away the smiles of humanity, now largely donned by masks. Yet, even so, worn in an effort to care and protect each other, proving overwhelmingly that love is stronger than fear, except of course when it comes to hoarding toilet paper. The meme game was solid this year, you certainly knew how to make the absurd laughable. You also gave us the Covid 15, getting the last laugh after all. 

But oh, 2020, you also brought us many gifts and blessings. This year we were given the treasure of time! More time for our devotions; more time for our loved ones; and more time for self-reflection and care – and even brought back my curly hair! You helped us restore balance to lives overextended by commitments and commercialism. You also gave me all of the words to finish my book. I finally saw the completion of this God-given assignment, the one I’d left tucked in a drawer because life was too busy and too full for too long. You gave me back my margins and added in even more. Somewhere, somehow, in the middle of all the uncertainty, you also gave me a new house in Sarasota. No longer wanderers in our new city; finally, a place to permanently settle and lay down roots. You even gave me a plumeria tree and lots of bananas. You moved us into a new church and a new ministry, picking up on callings that still lived in our roots from a previous day. And as you draw to an end, you also brought all of my children back home for the holidays, filling my arms and heart again so completely.  

I have no idea what mysteries 2021 will reveal in our lives, in all the members of my tribe, in each of our unique places. In such then, my word for the coming year is “reveal”. As New Year’s Eve arrives, I will say my last aloha to 2020, from the beach, under a full moon, side-by-side with my miracles. So much to reflect on; so much to give thanks for; so much to anticipate ahead. Aloha gives way to reveal. I’m so ready, let’s do this.