I gave birth to my second baby boy at the end of February, and for a moment all was beautiful. But we all know what happened next: the COVID-19 pandemic and everything that entails, and now the widespread outrage and upheaval surrounding racial injustice in this country.
Our hearts are heavy and we are weary. We are grieving for so many reasons. But, now that we are somehow halfway through the year, I want to propose the case for hope in 2020. Am I crazy? Are these the postpartum hormones talking? Maybe, but hear me out.
While none of what I propose can possibly erase the pain that so many are experiencing—ranging from illness and loss of loved ones, to financial hardship, to stress and mental health issues, to unjust suffering on the basis of race—here is the case for hope in 2020.
2020 has highlighted how strong and capable mothers are.
We have always known we are superhuman, but now the world knows it, too. There’s no denying the immense powers that mothers possess to love, protect, and provide normalcy to their children, no matter what the circumstances. The last few months have certainly been a reminder that we can handle whatever is thrown in front of us, though we would all hope to catch a break soon. And hopefully, employers and lawmakers will consider enacting policies that will better support working parents, as everyone has seen firsthand how desperately they are needed.
2020 has revealed what our priorities are.
Going without so many conveniences and connections we had taken for granted has helped many of us realize what we will happily live without (like commuting to work), and what we never hope to be without again (like embracing our loved ones). We often don’t take the time to ask ourselves whether our lives are working for us, but this year we have had the rare chance to slow down, take stock, and make meaningful changes going forward.
2020 has taught us gratitude.
We should know by now that things could always be worse, and we should appreciate every single thing that is going right, no matter how small. I continuously find myself in a state of thankful prayer for all that has been given, regardless of what has been taken away. And this year has also presented us with countless heroes we can appreciate and look up to, both in our own circles and at large.
2020 has shown us how to effectuate change for a better future.
While growth is undoubtedly painful, we can choose to be grateful for the opportunity we have to improve our lives and the world. For instance, in response to the heart-wrenching instances of racial injustice we have witnessed, so many people have put in the effort to educate us as to how we can tangibly help fight racism. All of us have a part to play, and we can do so from the comfort of our own homes. We can educate ourselves. We can talk to our children about race (it’s never too early) and do so many other things (here are 75 things we can do for racial justice).
While we can’t control everything (or hardly anything), we CAN control how we choose to view our circumstances and we CAN choose to act and be of service to others. And that, in a nutshell, is my case for hope in 2020. Let me know if you agree.