We’re closing in on the halfway point of 2020.
And let me just say, it feels like the longest year of my life.
So far in 2020, we’ve witnessed an impeachment trial against Trump, a global pandemic that’s completely uprooted our sense of “normalcy”, Brexit and Megxit, the Summer Olympic games being postponed for the first time ever, and we’re currently walking through a second civil rights movement. To all the cynics who say nothing happened in 2020, I say “what hasn’t happened in 2020?” This has been (don’t hate me for saying it) an unprecedented year. Looking forward to the day when phrases like “quarantine,” “social distancing,” “coronavirus,” and “stay-at-home” will be things of the past. And maybe they won’t ever be, and that will just be something our world will have to come to terms with.
I’m just emotionally, physically, and spiritually worn out. I know I speak on behalf of many when I say admitting I’m “worn out” also comes with some shame. Knowing full well what’s happening in our country between whites and blacks, I feel shame for saying I’m worn out. Because our black neighbors can’t step away from this fight, but our white privilege can. We have the choice to engage or not engage, but our black brothers and sisters their everyday is wrapped up in this fight. In some ways, I feel like I can sympathize with what the black community is going through because I’m currently working in healthcare during a global pandemic.
Everyday at work, I wear a level 3 or n95 mask with a face shield, and if the patient is COVID-positive or suspected-COVID, then I have to wear full PPE. I can’t escape the fact that COVID is a part of my everyday existence as a healthcare provider. However, the people in my community have a choice to either heed or dismiss the warnings, precautions, and truth. They have the privilege of choosing whether or not to engage in the fight against COVID by social distancing, wearing a mask, and limiting exposures. But I don’t get the privilege of that choice. It’s my life, my everyday. So when I see people daily not taking this virus seriously, I get upset and personally offended, because I see the direct effect their actions are having on our community. The judgmental, sermonizing side of me takes over and it’s not pretty.
Now, hear me out, COVID is hopefully a blip on the radar screen of my life. It is by no means the same as dealing with the ramifications of being born black. It is not my forever reality. But walking through this pandemic as a healthcare provider allows me to see a small glimpse of the kind of frustration, pain, and hurt the black community must feel when white people say things like, “Well, I’m not racist,” or “I’m colorblind.”
If I’ve learned anything this year at all, it’s to have more sympathy and empathy. We are all walking through hard, trying times. We are all dealing with different forms of loss and isolation. We are all coming to terms with what this year means for us emotionally, socially, spiritually, physically, and financially. And that’s a lot to unpack. We need to find grace for ourselves and for those around us. We need to be better neighbors and friends. We need to stop settling for the “normalcy” of our past and start looking to better our future.
I saw this post on Instagram and I think it speaks volumes to all that we are learning during 2020 so far…
I wanna look back on this year saying, “Wow, look at what God did in my heart!” not regretting what I did or didn’t do. I wanna glory in the goodness that God did rather than lament over what didn’t go my way. At the root of all this, we are coming to terms with a lot of our own sin and selfishness. It’s a great unveiling of ourselves.