In the final hours, it claimed Betty White of all people. The year 2021 will not go down as one of my favorite years for myriad reasons. It’s probably not yours either. But here we all are, about to crawl over the finish line into whatever 2020-too (get it?) holds for us. In fact, some of you reading this may already be there.
Here’s a few things I’m ready to be done with as we shut the door on 2021:
- My kids being away from home. The number one things from 2021 is missing my children intensely. Missing them eating me out of house and home, talking back to me, being dumb teenagers (and pre-tweenagers). Seeing them grown from boys to men. I am ready for them to return. I want them whole and healed. I want our family whole and I want it now. Did you read that just like a kid throwing a tantrum? That’s how I feel most days.
- Reading about abuse. Of all kinds. It seems every other thing that I read on social media or hear in the news is about abuse. I don’t want to bury my head in the sand. I want there to not be a need to read about it because at the stroke of midnight it all disappears. I want people to stop hurting kids, pastors to stop abusing their flocks and women to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
- The overpoliticization of everything. Not just in government, but in the church as well. It seems we can’t breathe or express an opinion without being given a red, blue, purple or some other kind of label. We are a nation desperate for civility to return to our discussions and a church (read global) that has overemphasized the second and third tier things while forgetting the greatest commandment: To love one another.
- Covid. Read number three and then hear me on this. For all of us doing our part, keeping our heads down, managing the tension between being cautious and living life.. we are tired. Are we not? It’s ok to just be over the whole situation without having a political reason one way or the other to go with it. My biggest prayer and hope for the new year is that 2021 will see the worst of this pandemic behind us.
- Living life virtually. This one may selfishly be because in this season, my livelihood depends on people traveling- especially churches and missionaries. However, I think we are all ready to step out from behind the Zoom screen and move about the country and the word. So many people have done an excellent job with making things normal-ish via technology, but I’m ready for normalcy, like it’s 2019.
I can’t do a darn thing to make a wholesale change in any of the five things above. My kids’ healing will come in due course. I fear we are only going to further fracture as a nation and the pandemic is going to pandemic, causing disruptions for an unknown length of time.
So I’ve been giving thought to the few things that I can do. They’re small, but they’re important.
- I’m going to focus on growing closer to Jesus. We went through a hard period of time spiritually a few years back and I’ve been working on relearning who Jesus truly is. Reading the Bible has been difficult. Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been back in it, completing the Gospel of Mark and working my way through Isaiah right now. By grace, I’ll read it all in 2022.
- I’m going to create stronger boundaries. As I mentioned above, this pandemic has been tough on work and so I’ve been working really hard and really odd hours to take advantage of what comes my way. But, now is the time to create some better boundaries for myself and my family. The deserve better than they’ve received in 2021 and they’ll get it in 2022.
- My health will become a priority. I’m not just talking about eating better and losing weight- which I really need to do. I’m talking about wholesale health: Mental, physical, spiritual, marital and family health. Creating boundaries will help, but also better choices, better time management and better focus. One area that I really want to prioritize is reducing screen time – something that I think will benefit all of us.
- Advocacy will take on a great role. You’ll notice some changes in my writing, for which I hope you’ll stick around for. This past year has focused heavily on our family experiences and has been really melancholy if I do say so myself. This year, I’ll focus on education and ways in which you join me in advocating for those in the foster care/adoption world.
- Healing for my children. This isn’t something you’ll see, unless you are deep in the trenches with us. While we’ve been working on healing and treatment in 2021, my wife and I are going to really heavily focus on this in the coming year. Progress in this area moves slow, due to broken systems, we’re going to see what we can do to pump the gas a bit.
Thank you so much for sticking with me this year and especially since November as I began writing in earnest once again. I hope that you’ll choose to follow along in 2022. Let me know in the comments or via messages if there is anything in particular you have questions about or have always wanted to know.
As for 2022, we’re ready, bring it on.