A friend of mine recently posted a Facebook Live video in which she discussed a dilemma she faced: how to respond honestly to people when they ask “How are you?” My friend said she wanted to be honest with them and tell them this year of COVID has been difficult and tiring and challenging beyond measure. But she also didn’t want to be negative. So how should she respond with honesty and positivity?
She concluded her best response was “I’m 2020 good.” She said she’s doing good in the context of a crazy year that has been difficult, tiring, and challenging beyond measure. She’s not doing as good as she might be in a normal year but, for this year, she’s good. And she said she was thankful for that.
I’ve adopted my friend’s response but I’ve upgraded it a bit. I tell people I’m doing “2020 great”. True, things could be better. If I were to paint the world the way I’d like it to be, all masks would disappear, all hand sanitizer would be put back in the cupboard, and my friends would never tell me they tested “positive for COVID”. But that’s not the current reality. In fact, 2020 has not been a great year for many people if you want to know the truth. But, for me, it’s been 2020 great.
Like my friend, I’m thankful for 2020. Not that I’m thankful for all the bad stuff. I’m not. But I am thankful for all the ways I’ve seen human kindness expressed. Persistence and Perseverance in the Pandemic. Compassion and Concern in the COVID Crisis. True enough, there have been many 2020 scenes that have made all of us wince. But there’s been a lot to be thankful for and I think there’s been more of that thankful stuff than the wincing stuff if we look for it.
I’m thinking right now of a man I met who works in one of our Goodwill stores. His name is Mike. Just a year ago Mike was homeless. Hopeless. Depressed. Suicidal. Then someone referred him to Goodwill and our program for homeless veterans. Today, Mike has a home. Hope. A job. And thanks to a partnership between Goodwill and Neighborhood Services Organization, he will soon have a new set of teeth. Mike says he’s grateful and thankful for what this year has brought and, although Mike rides to work each day on a scooter because he doesn’t have a car, he is “2020 great”. I’m thankful for Mike and for the hope he possesses. I’m thankful Goodwill and NSO have been able to help.
In this time of giving thanks, we may have to exert a little extra effort to crank up the thanks machinery. We may have to intentionally set aside our inclination to complain about 2020. But let’s do that. Let’s be intentionally thankful and stay focused on the good. You may not be great right now but you can definitely be “2020 great.” One of the first steps is to be 2020 thankful.