I began 2020 by telling you that my word for the year was witness. It really became the touchstone for the year. We witnessed so many twists and turns all year and there was hardly any steady ground anywhere. Each time we began to think we might be seeing some kind of resting place, some things or everything shifted, and we had to adjust, again. From the Covid virus to the political insanity, to racial violence, to food insecurity, to unemployment, to evictions, to business closures, to rabid voices on social media, we have been attempting to hold onto our sanity in an increasingly crazy world. How has it been for you?
To witness became the challenge of a lifetime. If we think quite literally about “to witness” we had enough watching the unfolding of events to keep us busy 24/7 for several more lifetimes! For those of us who approach life seeking the meaning behind the events, we have earned an advanced degree in witnessing! What is the meaning behind the political battling? Behind the poverty and loss on so many fronts? Behind the angry voices calling for justice and reform? Behind the virus and the death and the loneliness?
More importantly, have you taken the extraordinary opportunity given us this year, as the precious gift that it is? We’ve been given the gift of silence and isolation. In that gift lies the opportunity to observe how we respond to the world. It is an opportunity for soul-searching, for a closer encounter with ourselves and our God and everything that we think gives meaning to our lives. Dwelling in silence we may discover regrets. We may want to choose to begin again or to recreate what has been into what is more fitting now. We may discover what activities really matter to us and what is no longer so important. We may discover all that is right in our world! We may develop a new way of perceiving people and events, relationships with others, with our faith and values, even with ourselves! We may be getting reacquainted with ourselves in an entirely different way and find the selves we truly are, long forgotten and hiding under layers of living! I hope you have received and accepted the ultimate gift of witnessing this year: that you have come in silence, and with patience, to know and love the precious unique being that you are!