My son asked me this week why 2020 hates us so much.
Something about not hearing this question in an angry post on my social feed, but from my bright-eyed 10-year-old boy, really kicked me in the gut. For the last six months I have done everything I can to keep hope, optimism and gratitude at the forefront of our home. I have made space to have the honest and difficult conversations so we can learn, grow, and feel better about ourselves. I have meditated. I have contemplated. I have prayed. I have cried in silence and laughed out loud trying to grok it all. And still, “2020 hates us so much.”
Regardless of how many good parenting choices I think I may be making, the landscape keeps changing. Yesterday was OK to go outside. Today, air quality says no. Today online schooling is the right choice. Tomorrow, it isn’t. Yes you can go to lacrosse practice. No you cannot go camping. Parents are facing extraordinary moments of choice about wellbeing and safety every single day.
But this is not new. In fact, this is the annual season for unprecedented parenting choices! On Rosh Hashanah, we retell the story of when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. A story that has spooked me my whole life. But this year, it feels different. This year, I am oddly comforted to know that this isn’t just happening to us, now. There have been countless moments of impossible parenting choices before our time, and there will be countless more after us.
So the choice I am making now, as a parent, a wife, a leader, and a global citizen, is to stop spiraling in the fear of choosing wrong. I choose to offer myself and those around me forgiveness when we get it wrong. Because we are all carrying our own 10-pound bag of rocks.
And, I choose to fill the space formerly occupied by spiraling fears with a whole lot of nothing. Just stillness. Stillness so I can think more creatively about how I can better myself, help heal the world, and choose to live life more fully. Even if this life is, for the most part, confined to my home.
I don’t believe 2020 hates us. Instead, I believe the universe is asking us to slow down so it can teach us a few invaluable lessons: about how we treat our planet, how we treat each other, and how we all need to listen to one another much more deeply. The only question that remains, is whether or not we will choose to learn these lessons.