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The Challenges of 2020 – the Year of COVID

I doubt anyone reading this would deny that 2020 was “one heck of a year”. Amazon now sells merchandise proclaiming “2020” as a new curse word.

Susan Stabile looks at 2020 from a different perspective. “Where can I find God?” A popular retreat director, she recently raised some thought-provoking questions for a group of Moms on retreat.

  • What were some of the feelings I experienced over the last year?
  • What did I find most challenging about my experience this past year?
  • How was God with me in those challenges?  
  • Did I remember to turn to God at my most difficult times?
  • What did I find most surprising about the last 15 months?
  • Were there ways relationships were weakened or strengthened?
  • What am I most grateful for about the experience of the past year?  
  • Where did I find blessing?
  • Are there some good habits I picked up during the pandemic that it would be good for me to keep?

She writes… 

“What I was struck by in the discussion we had following the reflection was how much the women were able to focus on the blessings of the past 15 months. To be sure, there were a lot of difficulties and anxieties (everywhere, but especially here in the Twin Cities as we faced COVID along with the aftermath of the George Floyd murder). But each mom was able to identify positive lessons and blessings from the experience, and there is no question their prayer lives and relationship with God accounted for that.
One of the women participating last night – named Catherine Lindquist – wrote this morning to tell us that the guided reflection mirrored some of the questions she has been asking herself, as she wrote an essay about the experience.

I am so glad I followed up on her link. I could not stop reading! She captured and “named” so many experiences!

One woman’s insights

I am confident you will find echoes of your own experience in her words. With personal examples, she put into words things I had not put into words… much less paid attention to… opportunities to find God in 2020.

Due to the limitations of the format of Mindwalk I can only offer a glimpse into the subjects of her simple, yet profound sharing.

I constructed what amounts to a table of contents of her experiences. You will see yourself!


How Do We Look Back on the Last 15 Months?

It was a roller coaster—a nausea-inducing wild ride of events and emotions.
It was fear… hope…worry…prayer…disbelief.
It was a time of self-reflection and empathy. I spent a lot of time thinking in 2020.
I faced hard discussions… So many losses
But 2020 was also gain…We gained new skills, too…
What was 2020? It was grief…But also joy
2020 was creativity…And connection
What was 2020 most of all? For me, it was gratitude.

The roller coaster of 2020 is over, but it was one of those rides that feels like you’re still on it even after you get off.
The ground will undoubtedly remain wobbly under my feet until the graph of new COVID-19 cases flatlines at the bottom.
But as I move on to the next, hopefully, tamer, ride, I can’t help looking back and giving 2020 a quick nod.
Because although 2020 brought destruction and death, division and hostility, it also brought out the best in many people, caring for each other and protecting one another, and working together for the good of us all.
And if that isn’t something to be grateful for, I don’t know what is.


Naming our own experiences

I am convinced we will never experience God until we pick up and name our own experiences. God is there in the midst of our experiences. 

In the Incarnation we see Jesus going through all that we have experienced, even the worst possible death, but rising to the life “eye has not seen, ear has not heard…”

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

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