By Akanna Okeke
Everyone expected much more from the year 2020. Recently, I came across a video showing a montage of different pastors at the end of 2019 prophesying what 2020 would bring — perfection, series of joy, breaking limits, supernatural shift, and the best year you’ve ever lived.
The year fell far short of those lofty expectations; a year many feel should be erased from their timelines. Nothing felt perfect about it. Instead of a series of joy, it came with a series of calamitous events that reverberated around the world. It’s the first time in recent history that the whole world would be brought to a standstill for a long period of time. Talk about breaking limits!
The fact that the year turned out that way does not mean that there weren’t some good that happened after all. At least in our personal lives, we can count the good things that happened to us in 2020. For me, I look back at when the virus was in full swing, claiming many lives, and I thank God that mine was spared. We can be thankful for health; it’s a blessing to be healthy when sickness is ravaging the land.
At that point, we were directed to shelter-in-place and I’m more grateful that I had shelter. I had a roof over my head. I had a home with a wife that I had married just in the nick of time to avoid being ‘quarantined’ alone. We can be grateful for shelter and companionship during those days of isolation. Grateful for friends and family that kept us from going insane. It’s a blessing to still have people around you even when others have been ordered to stay away.
The economy was decimated by this. With a shelter-in-place order, not enough people were out there working. Many lost their sources of livelihood as a result, especially those who could not do their work from their homes. I’m grateful that I could. Those who were able to keep their jobs and their income flowing should be grateful too. It’s a blessing to be able to stay financially afloat in the midst of a global economic collapse. Some even reside in countries where cheques were handed out to them for the inconvenience. Not being grateful for that kind of blessing would be a big shame.
And then, there were the social upheavals that seemed to sweep through many regions of the world. It was strange not to wake up to a new trending hashtag protesting a perceived injustice. Saddest was when governments, tasked to protect and defend, turned against their own citizens to inflict bodily harm. Seeing all this almost daily caused a feeling of insecurity. It felt like the walls were closing in, and there was chaos everywhere. But when I really took a look around me, I realized how tranquil my immediate surrounding was. Many of our lives are nowhere as chaotic as what we see in the media. We must be grateful for that. It, indeed, is a blessing to live peacefully in the midst of so much chaos.
We must count our blessings, and we must learn to be grateful for them. As the saying goes, “Gratitude is an attitude that determines your altitude no matter your neighbourhood.” The optimism that results from us being thankful and grateful, puts us in a state of mind that helps us to see the good in every situation, no matter how hopeless they may seem. It enables us to see opportunities where others see adversity. It enables us to see the silver linings accompanying those very dark clouds, like the year 2020.
So, before we write it off as the worst year we’ve ever lived, let us take some time to list out all the good things that happened in our lives in 2020. And as we begin a new year, let us be cautiously optimistic. Not making extremely bold proclamations about what the year will bring, but instead being ready to spot the blessings that will come out of any situation we may be faced with this year. Let us be ready to count our blessings and be grateful to God for them!
Wishing you a happy 2021!