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  • Writer's pictureMatt Garris

Hindsight is 2020

I have several friends who enjoy terrorizing social media users with dad jokes. One of them shared that effective today, hindsight will literally be 2020. While I did not so much as smirk when I read it, I think that it is a good reminder that 2020 is finally behind us. I have lived through several difficult years before, but 2020 is unique because everyone suffered something. Whether you were negatively impacted by the coronavirus, the civil unrest, or the political drama, it is extremely unlikely that you escaped 2020 unscathed. The good news is that, regardless of what 2021 holds in store, 2020 is behind us.

But don’t forget the dad joke. Hindsight is 2020, but it’s also 20/20. It means that the year is behind you, yes, but it also means that you can see it clearly. While you may not yet be far enough removed from 2020 that you can make sense of everything that happened, you aren’t in the middle of it anymore either. Yes, some of it may bleed into 2021, but the summer’s riots have simmered down, we now understand how to deal with quarantine, we have a vaccine, we have toilet paper (can I get an amen?), and the election (at least the part where we hear the advertisements and go vote) is over. So you can begin to try to make some sense out of everything that happened, gain some perspective, and enjoy greater success in 2021.

I’ve said for about a month now that while we will all be glad when 2020 is over, we would be fools not to learn from it. What can we learn from 2020? Everyone’s lessons are probably different, but I’ll list some that I think are common and then I’ll talk about my big takeaway from last year. Here are some things that I’ve heard other people say they learned from 2020:

2020 taught people not to take things for granted. We all assumed that church, school, recreation, sports, and work were things we would always have around. Many people have not experienced ANY of them in nearly a year.

2020 taught people to value their relationships. This one works two ways. I’ve heard people with families, myself included, express gratitude for having some additional time at home with their spouses and children and a desire to continue to have more family time even after things reopen. On the other hand, the single people who haven’t seen their families, their friends, or their coworkers for months have a different appreciation for how much those people mean to them after not seeing them for so long.

2020 revealed strengths and weaknesses. I’ve talked to many people who say that 2020 was the best year of their marriage. At the same time, I read that domestic violence rates are through the roof. The extended time together seems to amplify the strengths and weaknesses of relationships.

2020 eliminated some excuses. People have used the quarantine time in different ways. Some houses are cleaner, some are messier. Some people have picked up new hobbies, started businesses, created projects, made strides in their physical fitness, or accomplished a lot of other things. At the same time, those people who thought they just didn’t have the time to do something have now realized that they just didn’t want to do it and that the lack of time was just a convenient excuse. I fall into both categories. I have accomplished a lot of things, but I have also realized that I just don’t want to do some things. I have learned that they just aren’t priorities for me.

I’m sure there are other big lessons, but those are some that I have heard from several different people. They seem to be common. I’m sure as we move farther away from 2020 we will be able to learn other things from it.

And what have I learned? I have learned that the only person I can trust is God. I have known that to some degree for years, but I was disappointed by so many people in 2020 that it carved the lesson a little deeper into my brain. Everyone will disappoint you. Your spouse will disappoint you, your kids will disappoint you, your parents will disappoint you, your siblings will disappoint you, the experts will disappoint you, your coworkers will disappoint you, your leaders will disappoint you, and I will disappoint you. Your favorite people will disappoint you and people you absolutely love will disappoint you. And if you can believe it (gasp…), even… YOU WILL DISAPPOINT YOU. Every human being you meet will let you down during this life in one way or another, but God will never disappoint you. You can always trust Him, rely on Him, and rest in Him. He loves you with an unending love and cares for you more intensely and comprehensively than your human understanding can fathom. The world will disappoint you, but be of good cheer, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). So love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and place your trust in Him. You won’t be disappointed.


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