Well, what a year. We all had milestones, events and things we were looking forward to in 2020. This was supposed to be the year I celebrated my 60th birthday in Tuscany; the year we finally built a house on the farm; the biggest year ever in our catering business. Instead, we are a part of a global choir wishing this year would just end.
As two weeks turned into two months here we are almost a year into the coronavirus pandemic that has brought profound change to almost every part of our lives — how we live, how we travel, how we work. Many of us have lost loved ones and experienced grief we never saw coming.
Almost a full year with no big weddings, no summer camp, no graduations, no holiday dinners with extended family; Little to look forward to except a new Netflix show or maybe learning to make sourdough bread at home. It’s like the whole world has been put on pause.
So when a year is stripped of all of those moments, how do we measure the seasons, milestones, rituals and events? People feel lost and struggle to manage their expectations. Is everything else we’re doing this year going to be drained of significance because it doesn’t have proper sequence? Experts who study human behavior say the human desire to pin failures, hopes and dreams on a period of time like a calendar year has primitive roots connected to our attachment to routine.
Are we destined to put too much expectation on 2021? Yes, because we want and need a sense of normalcy, a secure routine and some well deserved happiness. All of that comes from a new cycle of hope that gets recalibrated and refocused on a new target and soars again. “Hope,” the poet Emily Dickinson wrote, “is the thing with feathers.”
If not for hope, why would data show that most of the respondents to a recent Wedding Wire survey have postponed their planned 2020 nuptials to next year, but only 7% have canceled their wedding completely? People need love and hope. As a caterer I am grateful many clients have rescheduled for the New Year. Hope requires us to look at the present situation and regard it for what it is, and plan for its betterment. I am personally very hopeful. I think 2021 is going to be a year of rebirth. Hope will help us endure the pandemic and thrive. We are strong and will get through the many obstacles we have faced as a nation this year.
Nobody knows what the “new normal” will look like. Will there be wedding ceremonies featuring every person a couple has ever met, packed stadiums, concert venues with thousands of people swaying to their favorite tunes? Will milestone birthdays get rescheduled one year late? Will we even care?
There are no clear answers. But there is always hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
May we all stand on that promise and trust God in this new season.