I really don't know a better way to communicate what is on my heart than to start by telling you, 2020, that we really just aren't that into you anymore. And it's really not us; it's you.
It's all you.
When you waltzed into our lives nearly 365 days ago, we were ready for the journey. We all met you with open arms, but now we have simply stopped believin'. To say that you didn't live up to our expectations would be an understatement of Fat Albertian proportions.
We tried, we really tried to make it work. We kept a stiff upper lip; you bloodied it. We cheerily viewed the glass as half full; you slurped up half of that half and left backwash in the remaining quarter. We found the silver lining in the clouds; you sent us post after post about chem trails.
We were all onboard with 15 days to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. But, showing all the restraint of Pharaoh, there would be no "letting my people go." And now not only have many lost dear loved ones, but even the living have been impacted forever. Businesses are still shuttered across much of the land. And you, 2020, then very expertly showed us politician after politician giving lectures that they then turned and themselves ignored and issuing edicts that they themselves could not be bothered to follow. Nancy Pelosi got her salon haircut, as did Lori Lightfoot, while others endured bowl cuts. Some even egregiously used all of this to resurrect one of history's greatest travesties, the mullet. Gavin Newsom had his fancy restaurant meal while everyone else had to endure yet another in a long line of frozen lasagnas, and many others joined in hypocrisy of the like.
Very few people have had real vacations this year, 2020. Do you know how uptight people get when they do not get vacations? No, not me, I am a workaholic and don't do rest very well anyway. But in general, theme parks have been closed, tourist areas locked down and restaurants reduced to drive-thru. Sorry, 2020, but five people eating in a truck is about as enjoyable, as, well, a truck with five people inside eating.
On a note quite personal to me, throughout all of this mess you have exerted a draconian effort to keep churches from meeting to worship. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that churches would literally have to be suing governors who deemed churches nonessential and liquor stores essential, but you, 2020, you pulled it off. I give you mad props on that one, dude (may I call you dude? I am not sure how else to refer to a period of time in familiar slang form). You truly did the unthinkable. In some locales you even had law enforcement showing up in the parking lot threatening to arrest pastors and parishioners. That is going all out, for sure.
On the more subtle side, you also did a masterful job of dividing people, even very good friends. I know people who are now former friends instead of current friends because some of them think that masks will save us all, and anyone not wearing them is "literally trying to kill people," while others think that "masks do not work at all" and any person wearing them is a sheep who would blithely march onto a railroad boxcar heading to a concentration camp if ordered to do so. I have no doubt that some friendships have been severed forever over all of this.
Some nice diversions would have helped. But you, 2020, made even that nearly impossible. Professional sports is now as enjoyable as a political protest, which, I suppose, is exactly what happens when professional sports actually becomes a political protest. I have not watched any of it at all this year. I literally could not tell you who is winning, losing or even playing.
Kids have missed their own graduations. Funerals have been limited to just a handful of people, unless, of course, that person who was being mourned was some kind of a liberal political icon. In that case, grandma be darned, you packed the arena with thousands because, you know, there are "important" funerals, and then there are "the little people."
But in case you think you have won, 2020, there are a couple of things I want you to know in closing. In spite of you, God has been good through it all. Many, seeing how quickly temporal things can fall apart, have come to know Christ as their Savior. Neighbors have stepped up to help neighbors with their needs. And people have gotten very creative about continuing on with life and ministry. I even preached live in Belgium without ever leaving my office here in America! Our church has gained new members, people who were hungry for worship, which they no longer had access to elsewhere, and other pastors have experienced the same.
We don't fold easily, 2020. You, like Ivan Drago, have given all of us your best "pound Rocky into the mat" onslaught, and yet by God's grace we are still standing. So, 2020, I will say this in such a way as to hopefully convey my "fondest" thoughts toward you in closing:
I hope the extended car warranty people call you in the middle of the night and you step on a Lego while trying to get to the phone.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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