We made it through 2020, y'all.
Although we're entering 2021, 2020 will remain a pivotal year.
So much changed.
In addition to a two-car garage and open floor plan, we now have "home office" on our list of new home requirements.
We carry sanitizer (or as my kindergarteners would say, "hanitizer") in our cars and purses. It's even in our vending machines!
A good friend sent me this text the other day. I couldn't help but laugh.
"I'll take E9. Just what I'd come to the vending machine for. No way that can compete with M&M's."
WHAT IS HAPPENING, y'all?!
It's all about Prime and curb-side pick-up ...Going into an actual mall, store or restaurant is sooo 2019!
We give a wave instead of shaking hands.
We watch church online in pajamas with our families.
We have online class for all ages, ranging from pre-K to college. Parents are feeling the added pressure of teaching their kids.
We become creative with social distancing activities - walks and backyard games with the family are now the norm. Throw in a concert streamed in the living room with some take-out, and we're living it up!
It really is a modern-day B.C. ...Before Covid.
Will we ever live like we did B.C.?!
I believe we have and will continue to press on and become stronger through this. However, I do believe our world will never be the same.
And it's not all bad either. I'm hoping shopping carts continue to be cleaned regularly and hand washing is given more thought. I'm a fan of flexible work environments. And, boarding a plane from back to front just makes plain, good sense!
We're spending more time outside and being active.
We're given more time with those in our own homes.
We have renewed respect for teachers.
One of the funniest moments in this quarantine had to be the surprise reaction in our kids to their unprepared homeschool teacher, aka mom/dad/guardian.
One child even wrote in his diary,
It is not going good. My mom's getting stressed out. My mom is really getting confused. We took a break so my mom can figure this stuff out. And I'm telling you it is not going good. - a child named Ben
Ben, your mom is trying. She didn't know she'd wake up one morning and be a teacher, too!
This reminds me of my nine-year-old nephew. He called his dad, my brother, one day at work and says, "Dad, you have to come home... MOM IS LOSING IT!"
My kind sister-in-law is a very patient ER nurse. But, as her son can attest, her patience for ER drama does not quite transfer to patience for teaching multiplication.
And y'all, I get it!
Oh, how we NEED each other.
In a way, I think 2020 was just that - a year of 20/20 - seeing with more clarity.
We saw our strengths.
We saw our weaknesses.
We saw our respect for other professions (notably health care professionals and teachers).
We saw our need for others.
We saw our care for others.
We saw our priorities shift.
If you would have told me in 2019 soon we'd all be walking around wearing masks, I wouldn't have believed you. Even more unpredicted was the thought of spending my work days dressed as a news anchor, prioritizing my appearance from the waist up. A nice top paired with comfy shorts or pants gives "Business Casual" new meaning.
Never paired this silk blouse with cotton joggers...
Never only worn slippers, tennis shoes and flip-flops for 9 months straight...
Never worn blue light blocking glasses...
Even though there were so many challenges and changes this year, if I had to sum up 2020 in one word, it would be...
While we're buying masks, storing them in our cars and putting them on for every public outing - in a way, I've also seen us pulling off masks, too.
Not facial masks.
The masks we're pulling off are not as easy to identify. You can't buy the mask itself, but you can buy things that add to the mask.
In the same way as facial masks, we store this kind so it's handy and easily accessible. Sometimes it's like putting on deodorant or glasses - it's so natural to us we may not even make a conscious effort for it.
Although sometimes, it is very deliberate effort.
What mask is it?
Well, I'm talking about the mask we put on as we leave the house and walk into work or into the gym or at church or our child's t-ball game or piano recital.
Or on social media.
Gosh, that space is full of masks!
It's usually a mask that can be summed up in having it all together.
Most notably, I saw these masks come off at work. With our leaders' decision to put our community health and safety first, our organization has been working remotely since March. Prior to this, my days were largely spent in conference rooms filled with suits and nice shoes, and spiffy ties and collars, silk tops and maybe even some ruffles.
We're still in those conference rooms, but they're online. And guess what?
We're taking off the masks! The masks of impressions, that is.
The ruffles - well the closest ones we care about now, they're in the pantry.
As we sit with our homes as the background and the attire professional yet more casual, we see each other in a different light.
Different, but not bad.
In fact, this has been good.
Sure, we knew our co-worker had a life and family outside of work, but now that we're in a Zoom meeting and I see the family picture behind them, I'm reminded of this.
And it doesn't matter if you're entry-level or C-level, removing the mask and letting others into our spaces - our homes, the place where the mask of impressions is dropped - we're reminded of something else.
Something that is very, very important.
We're reminded of each other's humanity.
As the King Solomon puts it,
All are from the dust, and to dust all return. - Ecclesiastes 3:20
This is pivotal. So much so, I thought it was worthy of a few words. Here's why.
A Pivotal Reminder
Being reminded of another's humanity and our own humanity removes the barriers pride and pretense naturally put up. It opens the door for authenticity and, in doing so, trust.
My co-workers - I've always thought highly of each person. Truly, I work with some of the most talented and polite people you'll ever meet.
And now, I see them in their homes. I hear their children in the other room or may see a brave youngster dying to get a moment on mom or dad's Zoom call, so they do a drive-by in the background with their doll stroller or train.
In this, my respect for them does not diminish. It grows!
It's a breath of fresh air (ironic because we're all in our homes), but it's truly refreshing to have respect growing from authenticity, not suit and tie impressions.
It's a nod of "You're real. And, we're not that different after all."
It invites us to a new level of trust.
If we carry anything over to 2021 from last year, may it be 20/20 vision.
Let's seek to see the person. Not the title. Not the occupation. Not the brand they're wearing or driving. Not the surface. Not the impression.
The person behind the mask.
We find strength to be who we were uniquely created to be when we accept God's unconditional love for us. We find joy in accepting our differences with others. We find peace in the extension of grace for ourselves and others, and rest in authenticity and new dimensions of trust in our work places, circles, and communities.
There's only one you. Don't hide it. Be who God created you to be - at home, at work, and everywhere in between!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!