Reader counting blessings and looking forward to 2021
There is a steadiness to real love. It doesn’t waver or give out. It doesn’t break down when life gets difficult. When we love each other, we are living the life that Jesus creates for us. It is because of this great love that we know what true love looks like. We are his beloved. When his life is lived out in us, we love like he does. And that is a beautiful thing.
2020 has been a topsy-turvy year. It has challenged us in big and little ways: no long-awaited trips, no weddings, or high school graduations, no casual visiting; instead a new reality of social distancing, mask-wearing and washing hands. Our numbers for the virus in the United States have been very high. It seems forever before we will have a solution. The outlook looks bleak. The phrase 2020 means everything turned upside down and covers all the odd and unusual things going on. God is the basis of our country. One nation under God. All of us who live here are part of something special. But this year it seems we have been especially fragmented.
2020 has been a year of great division. Civic unrest, an election year of great divides. Many people are unhappy. But it is time to remember small mercies. As the Christopher say, “It is better to light one candle than just stand and curse the darkness.” No one should be miserable all the time. We need to allow room in our life for joys and simple pleasures. A walk in the sun, talking to a friend, reading a good story. I am pausing at the end of November to enjoy things that don’t change: Giving thanks, Christmas and a New Year 2021.
Pahrump owes a special thanks to all who have tried to make things as normal as possible. Doctors and other medical personnel, police and firemen, truck drivers, essential workers in the stores, those who provide us with places to eat out. I have shopped locally since February 2020. And we need to commend our teachers and students who strive hard to continue learning with internet instruction, abbreviated schedules and class times. Our churches have provided a place of refuge even if services have been via zoom or conducted in parking lots. All this help us cope in our daily lives.
Many in our valley like much of America are lonely, scared and fearful as more people become sick. For ten months we have heard that we must wear masks, stay home if we are ill or exposed, social distance, wash your hands…We are weary. Few in the world have lived through a time like this. I am grateful that I have lived in the United States where I have been sheltered from war, famine and disasters. Now few know what comes next.
I will thank God that soon there will be a vaccine. Yes, I will have it because then I will be able to move around more easily and take plane trips and long car vacations again. Yes, I will take it. As for masks, I do not like seat belts, but I wear them. All of us have been asked to make many such sacrifices this year. This is why we need to cherish small pleasures. Pray God that in 2021 the world will be more normal again and that we can visit our families and friends. As for New Year’s Eve, I plan to stay awake and make sure 2020 is out of here. God bless you all.
Despite changes, human nature is still the same
Speaking as a society, are we producing smarter people or more dependent or entitled people? Over six years ago I went back to my 50th high school class reunion. One lady I graduated with was still working for the school corporation as a secretary at our old school and made arrangements for anyone who wanted on that Saturday morning to tour the school, about 25 of us did.
When we went there it was almost brand new, about 2,500 enrollment, with some of the best facilities for us at the time. Though the school was still well kept, I was somewhat shocked to see some things gone, things like auto-shop, wood-shop, machine-shop, home-economics, and even the thick ropes in the gymnasium decks, we claimed to pass gym class was gone. When I asked about these things, the answer was “safety”, a few hands-on things were still allowed in school.
I had taken all these classes, with the exception of home-economics, with usually 25 or 30 other guys from 14 to 18-year-olds and we did goof around but still somehow seemed to have enough sense to know the power tool and machines we worked with could hurt or kill you or someone else. Sometimes there were some minor bumps or cuts, slightly worse than a paper cut, but overall we survived and may have learned a few things along the way.
I now think we have mixed some things that may be counterproductive to society. We seem to overprotect the young from ever getting the slightest bump or scratch while giving them, sometimes, the sole power to make life-altering decisions, like abortions or changing genders. At the same time, a 26-year-old can’t figure out anything about their own health care, or how deep debt to go to get that prized diploma in “underwater basket weaving” they now have that just can’t seem to make a living from the skills they’ve learned. The world has changed and some advances have been a plus, but human nature has changed very little, and taking the easiest path without thought can take society back to a place that can lead to some form of serfdom, which historically has been the ‘norm’.