Is it possible to celebrate adversity? Can we close out 2020 in any other way besides exasperated? Is there anything worthy of celebration after the most difficult, life altering year most of us have ever known?
Well, I believe the short answer is yes. And yes, in a big yes kind of way, not in a “I’m barely hanging on“ kind of way, although that may be how many of us are feeling.
Perhaps it’s just that I’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity so I’ve had more practice, or that I just intentionally choose to seek silver linings… either way, let’s look at what we might actually have to celebrate, and why we might close out the year with a celebratory bang!
First off, adversity is not what most of us would choose. It is not fun. It is not easy, nor is it pleasant. We all are hard wired to move toward pleasure and move away from pain- any kind of pain. 2020 with all its disruptions, fears, unknowns and losses has brought many of us pain and discomfort.
That is not to be ignored, or sidelined. We do well to acknowledge our pain and grief, experience it, and allow ourselves time and space to tend to our hearts and heal.
With that in mind, 2020 and the adversity it has presented has also set the stage for opportunity. Many people now have more time not commuting, not buzzing around on autopilot each day squandering precious minutes of life on things that in the end don’t really matter. Many people I have talked with; friends, family and clients have shared that 2020 brought them some pause space to think and reflect on what is really important. Many have reported rethinking work, relationships, goals and desires.
It has been a year of soul searching and reassessment.
Adversity has a tendency to do that. It often catches us off guard, disrupts our routines and comforts, and provides an unexpected and often unwelcomed opportunity to reflect and reconsider what really matters.
Have you made the time and space for renewing strength, reflecting, or experiencing a reawakening of what is really important to you?
In the midst of adversity we can find parts of ourselves that were lulled into a sleepy slumber long ago. And that is worthy of celebration.
In the book of James, first chapter, verses 2 and 3 tell us this: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Perseverance is worthy of celebration.
I vividly recall one event in my life that called for perseverance. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I went into labor when our home was under major remodel. As my labor was well underway, my husband left to fix a neighbors’ leaky roof during that stormy November night. Contrast to the rain, we had accumulated a mound of snow in our framed in living room. While all supportive parties were gone, we lost power.
I was alone, in labor and in the dark.
While the home birth was planned, the storm and power outage were not. Though I initially felt concerned, I recall settling into the thought that this is my situation -what do I want to do with it? I chose to light candles, deep breathe through contractions and pray.
Perseverance and determination won and my beautiful baby girl was born by candlelight and flashlight. It wasn’t planned that way.
Adversity, pain, peace and beauty were all present that day.
Any situation, though deeply difficult and distressing can have a silver lining if we choose to look for it. Your situation may not involve giving birth at home in a power outage. Yours may be grappling with your own sickness or dealing with a loved one stricken with the virus, or some other tragedy or loss you have endured this year.
Somewhere in the eye of the storm, is a possibility that is awaiting your discovery. It may be an opportunity to show up more compassionately in your family or business. It may be creating more honesty or approaching a challenge with increased tenacity and perseverance. It may be the discovery that what you thought was so important isn’t what really matters in the end.
Whatever your discoveries that have occurred this memorable year, celebrate them. Consider what good has come from all of this and celebrate your victories as you close out the last chapter of 2020 to the history books. Celebrate any silver linings you see and begin to seek out the ones you’ve not yet discovered. There are often lessons to be gleaned and insights to be realized out of adversity that can make a valuable difference in how we choose to live out the remainder of our years. Here’s to celebrating the little things that matter. And from all of us at LWK, we wish you good health and many blessings in 2021.