I was looking back on some of my posts from this year and boy oh boy, did I NOT see all of this coming in 2020. I’m sure that we can all say that, unfortunately.
But I am an eternal optimist, and although this year started off with a bang, I am determined to make sure that the experiences that we’ve all been through this year don’t end up without a lesson learned.
So tell me what lessons have you learned this year? Here are a few of mine (in no particular order).
- If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear. I believe this has been a tough one for all of us to learn. Especially if we may not have heeded the warnings over the years from our leaders. We have been exhorted to keep several months worth of food storage. To have a 72 hour preparedness kit on hand should the need arise. Unfortunately the need has arisen this past year. Not only have we needed to be physically prepared, this year has given us great cause to be spiritually prepared as places of worship have been unable to operate and social distancing has precluded us from spending time with our fellowshipping communities. We have been counseled to be spiritually prepared in probably the most often quoted passage from President Russell M. Nelson this year. He strongly admonished us to be ready. He said, “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.” I trust that we have all learned this great lesson to be prepared both physically and spiritually.
- Family and friendships should be first on the priority list, ALWAYS. We have really learned this lesson the hard way! Around the world we were/are all asked to social distance to keep Covid-19 from spreading. So no more hugging, shaking hands, going to lunch and just plain hanging out with friends. We have been limited to spending time in our homes with our immediate family members with limited resources for entertainment. With schools and entertainment venues being closed, we have had to go back to a former time when riding bikes, doing puzzles, playing games and being bored sometimes, were the norm. I think we have realized that all of those things have great value and importance in building and strengthening our relationships as we slowly return back to a new normal.
- Human life is fragile and can change in the blink of an eye. So many of us (if not all) have been forever changed by tragedy this year. From tornadoes, earthquakes, fires and floods, to sickness, depression, loss of life, and loss of celebration of our most precious moments. I think it’s safe to say that we have all been affected in some way or another. Not being able to be with someone in the hospital and them having to shoulder something horrible all by themselves, has been one of the most heart wrenching experiences to witness. The importance of being with our loved ones in hard times and in times of great joy have new meaning now. Leaving this Earth, coming into this world, and loving while here on this Earth have hopefully been deeply ingrained as the most important elements of our life here on Earth. That lesson has been deep and hard in so many ways. May we be forever grateful for all the life we have been given, and not take another single minute for granted. It can all be taken away from us without a moment’s notice.
- Stillness is a practice to be appreciated. For the Bertagnolli household, all of the craziness of life, work, school, running kids to and from activities and practices, all came to a screeching halt when the tornado hit us on March 2-3rd (in the middle of the night). The boys’ school was destroyed. So the focus became, where and how are the boys going to have school? The first 2 weeks of March (approximately) that was our primary focus. Thank goodness we did not sustain damage to our home but many, many of our friends did. Not only did they have to worry about school, but how and where they were going to return to normal life? And then, within days of decisions being made as to where the boys would be going to school and cleanup and repairs being made to homes and businesses, BOOM, shut down the world! And suddenly life how we knew became very still. Most of us are not used to being still, running around crazy all the time from one activity to the next. And suddenly we are completely compelled to “be still”. If ever there was a time that God spoke to us, “Be still and know that I am God”- psalms 46:10, it has been in the year 2020. We have had to turn our hearts to God to merely survive all of the craziness that has been thrown at us this year. And if you haven’t learned that lesson yourself, I highly encourage you to make the time to be still, to meditate, to pray and then listen. God knows you, He hears you, and trust me when I say you are never ever alone. Be still and know!
- Good health is everything. Being a self proclaimed expert in the field of mental illness (joking), I have been reminded over and over again of how important it is to stay mentally, physically and spiritually healthy. I am so grateful that 2019 was year of improved mental health for me. I think had it not been, I may have been one that succumbed to the pressures and stresses of living with mental illness create. I sincerely hope not, but you just don’t know do you? I am torn apart to hear about friends and family that have not been able to cope with the sudden changes that have taken place. I am heartbroken to hear of illness and loss of physical health due to the effects that this year has brought on. I am distressed by the number of people that have walked away from God during this time when we should be seeking Him for deliverance. . I will be forever changed (hopefully for the better) because of the events of 2020. And I know you will too. How can we have a year like this and not be changed for life? Only time will tell if these lessons will be ingrained within us. I fear that as time goes on and life returns to somewhat normal, hatred, fear, and anger will return with a vengeance (as we have already seen politically speaking). It is Satan’s way. But as I said in the beginning, I am and will always be an optimist and I choose to remember and retain the good lessons that I have learned. And I will more wholey choose hope and joy every day of the week. I hope you will too. Let me know in the comments what lessons you have learned this year.
P.S. Pointing toward hope is now on podcast! Just search for Pointing toward hope on most podcasting platforms. Instagram, and Facebook. I hope you come and follow me in pointing toward hope every day. If you or someone you know has an inspiring story to share that will lift others in meeting life’s challenges, please contact me. I would LOVE to reach out and have them on the show for an episode. Choose joy!