Looking back at some photos from last Christmas, I came across this screenshot from my phone that really made me laugh:
And, if you haven't seen this "goals list" laugh/cry, it is a must!
There is no question... 2020 has been a challenge
So much death and suffering from COVID-19. So much death and suffering alongside and following the pandemic and resulting response. Dishonor, discord, and division among people — neighbors — are rampant.
There have also been all the subtle, insidious impacts of the year: apathy in the face of overwhelm; decision-fatigue; navigating safe & (sometimes vs.) sane... Countless articles detail the emotional & mental toll of all of the uncertainty and big issues at the forefront of this year.
If you have lost in 2020 — lost a loved one, lost an income, lost faith, respect, hope — I am so sorry. This has not been the year of maximum enthusiasm, but of loud lament.
Hardship has been a significant, collective experience of this year.
Suffering is not unique to 2020
Hardship defies place and time.
When I traveled to Bangladesh, I met several young women with resilient histories that humbled and arrested me.
For A.D., her worst year was probably when she asked for help from a police officer at her brothel, and the madam gathered some men to throw gasoline on her & burn her body. (Or maybe it was one of the several years before that when she was imprisoned in the brothel after being tricked into an "exciting opportunity" that took her to a foreign country.)
In 2020, A.D. was braiding my hair, and protecting me from vehicle traffic as we walked the street together. Safe. Loved. Not without sadness. But living a life with hope.
For M.N., her worst year was likely when she was kidnapped by her cousin and sold to people who wanted to abuse her — she locked herself in the bathroom for 3 days drinking toilet water, before escaping.
In 2020, M.N. was beaming with joy, telling me that Jesus was her "best friend and best God".
[Actually, in 2020, Moni was once again tricked by her family to come home — where they were planning to marry her to someone... she once again escaped with only the clothes on her back & no shoes. M has had some tough years!!]
For my friend K.D., her worst year was 2008 when her husband died unexpectedly in a tragic accident.
In 2020, she grew 6 foot sunflowers & saw kittens born on her acreage. She sent a care package to a friend who needed it, she dressed up on Halloween to get a discounted ice cream cone.
Suffering is rampant. It is not unique to 2020. Like every year, every place, every time, there are very low lows. And there are glimmers of light. The drum of life beats on.
Defiant Hope, Defiant Joy
May you close out 2020 with a sense of hope. May there be, in your life these last weeks of the year, a hint of joy.
Eight years into our journey here, we are still captivated by the story & products of dignify. I know that many of you are, too!
The beauty, the hope, the awe, the intricacy, the surprise & delight, the riches, the redemption... so much can be captured in this symbol of a blanket made of scraps. May you find similar images & symbols of hope and joy this Christmas.
Happy new year. With gratitude,
Shelley & Wayne Jones