We simply didn’t see it coming: your illness, your brokenness, your sadness. 2020 was not at all the year any of us expected. A microscopic virus versus a planet. Something so small unraveling something so big. Yet here we are, ALL of us, captive citizens to the place we call home. We can’t walk away from this battle and it’s cacophony of side effects. No matter our opinions, our biases, our backgrounds or our passions, we are all affected by this malady in a myriad of ways. It’s repercussions live among us, even as we look to the hope of a new calendar year.
Today we all come together to sit on the front steps of 2021. I am hopeful that healing can be found in the collective sigh of relief we all exhaled as the clock struck midnight around the world. We all long to turn our backs on a year defined by sickness and turn our faces to the horizon that is the blank new page of January 2021. And while we can’t really start the year with a do over I cling to the hope that we can come together to heal our brokenness. Slowly but surely we can claw our way back to something that resembles a unifying spirit to heal our infirm world.
So, Happy New Year World and Get Well Soon. I wish you a year of healing, empathy and unity. It may sound a bit too much like rainbows and butterflies to say that I hope 2021 ushers in a rebirth and reset but I am choosing to land on the side of optimism. Together we are not the lost cause that some proclaim we are. I remain hopeful that 2021 will give us all more good days than bad, more hope than despair, and more healing than sickness.
In yet another example of, “I didn’t see that coming” I can tell you that Thursday afternoons have now become a predictable highlight of my week. It is the only time that I know for certain that I will gather with people who will stretch my intellect, introduce me to new viewpoints, and engage eagerly when I want to talk or learn of faraway cultures and artistic endeavors. “Gather” is maybe not quite the right word, but each time the Zoom meeting starts I get a little thrill at seeing each and every one of their faces filling my computer screen.
For anyone reading this other than those who belong to those faces on my screen I probably need to explain what a docent class zoom is. For all of 2019 we were in a class together training to be docents, or tour guides, for our city’s art museum. We had barely begun our duties as the newly trained docent corp when covid swept through and closed us down. Now with schools upended, teachers overextended and field trips cancelled we have more questions than answers about where our training will ultimately lead us.
So, for the time being, it is leading us to one another. The thing about training to be a docent is that you embrace learning and studying and pursuing knowledge.As recent graduates we were excited to share this love of learning with others. Little did we realize that instead of sharing it with the students who show up on yellow buses, we would be sharing it with the familiar faces from class that pop up on our screens.
I’ve learned to appreciate and accept the unexpected direction my docent training is heading. For the time being these weekly meetings give me the motivation I need to stay the course even when I really have no idea what the course is. Seeing these newfound friends, sharing with them, listening to them learning with them and troubleshooting with them is enough right now. The insurmountable problems of the world outside my four walls are silenced and pushed aside for an hour or so on Thursdays. I am certain that when I look back on all the tumult and clamor that 2020 unexpectedly brought into my life I will remember the silver lining of 12 people’s voices virtually coming together to temporarily cancel out the world’s noise.