Today’s Word from Deacon Amy…

Sometimes it feels that 2020 is just too much. A pandemic, quarantine, schools & businesses closed, weddings & celebrations postponed, funerals delayed, vacations cancelled… it’s all been too much. Then we throw in hurricanes, tornadoes, and now wildfires with their blankets of smoke, and it really feels like too much. Don’t even mention the Murder Hornets – very much, too much.

We lost a baby goat last week. This is the first time, in our 9 years of breeding & raising goats, that we’ve lost a baby goat. As my youngest held the fading kid in her lap, she whispered, “Dang 2020.” At that moment, it was simply too much.

Dang 2020. We’ve never before blamed a loss or sorrow on the calendar. How unusual this season has been for us. Of course, 2020 isn’t to blame for the loss of our little goat. How could it be? The date on the calendar has nothing to do with life and death, loss and grief.

But, dang 2020 anyway. When we’re hurting and in pain, it’s human nature to look for someone or something to blame. So, now we choose to blame the year. Dang 2020. If this was 2019, the little goat would have lived, right? Well… no. He was pretty sick, and didn’t have the strength to survive. If this was 2015 there wouldn’t be any wildfires, right? Well… no. There were a lot of fires that year, too. If this was 2018, we wouldn’t be stifled in smoke from distant flames, right? Well… no. That was a year full of very red sunsets, too, wasn’t it?

So, if 2020 isn’t to blame, who is? Is it God’s fault? Is God sending plagues to wake us up? A Facebook friend recently shared an image that stated, “2020 is the largest altar call we’ve ever seen.” I suppose the writer was intending to encourage us to turn to God. The message really rubbed me the wrong way, though. It seemed to imply that if the world followed Christ, the pandemic and natural disasters would not have happened. I firmly believe that God isn’t causing this so that we’ll go to church on Sundays and say our prayers every night. God didn’t take our baby goat so that we’d get the kids to Confirmation class every week. This dang 2020 is not a test, designed by God, to increase our faith and good deeds.

Every year has its share of sorrows. We’ve all experienced tragedies and loss at some point. We’ve also experienced great joys and gladness. Even in 2020, we get to smile, laugh, and celebrate.

Who knew that standing six feet apart in a parking lot would bring so much joy to our hearts? Rally Day at Trinity this year was small and simple compared to years past – but it was so full of joy! Seeing our TLC friends and family in person after six months apart was beyond delightful!

We lost a baby goat this year, but we’ve also bottle-raised two others; something that would not have been possible had our daughters been in school full-time. What a beautiful experience for them. Exhausting, sure, but beautiful.

This year has brought, perhaps, more than its fair share of challenges. I encourage you to take time, though, to revel in the positives. Appreciate the smile in a stranger’s eyes. Enjoy a beautiful sunset. Take pleasure in a piece of art, or a favorite song. There is always joy to be found. Be sure to look for it.

Deacon Amy