Not long now before you’re gone. And I have to admit, a part of me is glad to see you leave. There was so much pain and suffering during your turn around the sun. You’ve been one awful year for so many people.
As COVID-19 began to impact the country, it was sometimes a struggle to see the good. It almost became a discipline, an act of will power to see the positives as we dealt with the lockdowns and restrictions.
Through the disappointment and challenges, I tried to see God’s goodness in this broken world. Ordinary things became all the more important and there were small, easily forgotten things we could all be grateful for. The kindness of strangers, rainbows on neighbourhood windows, pink cherry blossoms against a clear blue spring sky.
Despite what you threw our way 2020, I was determined not to take God’s provision for granted. Even in suffering, He is in control. And He is merciful.
I started Project 2020 this year. It was an attempt to remember all the good things that came our way, big or small, in what became a challenging time.
Who knew what happened to us at the very beginning would turn out to be a metaphor for our lives in 2020. A lost wallet and a kind gesture that saw it returned to its owner. During times of stress, loss and disappointment, we saw glimpses of God’s care expressed through human kindness.
Project 2020 was an interesting experiment. There were days I just managed to catch an image or memory as they zoomed past. There were other days I was searching for something to capture. I am so grateful for the kind people who read my weekly updates and offered words of encouragement throughout the year. You know who you are.
This was also the year I wrote about ordinary people working hard to serve others in London. There was Roberto faithfully looking after the homeless at the Webber Street Day Centre. There was also Paul saving lives on London’s rail network as a Rail Pastor.
I was hoping to find more stories, but at just the right time, in the middle of a global pandemic, God gave me a job working for a Christian charity that seeks to serve children and families living in poverty around the world.
For the past eight months or so, I’ve been busy writing their stories of hope and transformation. Seeing with my own eyes how lives have been changed for the better thanks to generous sponsors and a team of people working at various projects across the globe.
For that I am grateful. At my loneliest point in London, I found kind work colleagues to talk to and pray with, new skills to learn and a job that helped others.
2020, you certainly were a year of change and flexibility. Best laid plans often had to be scrapped at the last minute. And unplanned opportunities taken up quickly before those too disappeared.
Due to COVID-19 blowing up to become a global pandemic, we weren’t able to travel to Europe in 2020. Paris had to wait. Again.
But through various stages of lockdown and lifted restrictions, we were still able to travel. From Bath to Bristol, from Cornwall to York, Wales to Derbyshire, we were able to see much of the UK. And there are more places we would like to see in 2021, God willing.
I’ve come to realise we’re living in a remarkable country steeped in history so different to Australia’s indigenous past. For better or worse, this is where the history of colonised Australia began. And it’s become impossible to ignore it. Our first year in the UK has certainly been revealing.
It’s been interesting and painful to see our priorities exposed during this pandemic. 2020 has been a clear mirror that revealed what we truly valued and taught me a few uncomfortable things about myself. It hasn’t been easy.
Good bye 2020.
With the roll out of the new vaccine, I am hoping 2021 will be a slightly less eventful, more normal year.