March 12, 2020. I remember the day vividly. It was a Thursday. The last day of school before Spring Break. We picked up Addi & a friend from school and made the drive to Wimberly for Payne’s track meet. We talked on the drive about how crazy this new virus was. We talked about how, even though the virus hadn’t made its way to Kerrville yet, we’d keep our distance from folks who traveled to typical spring break-ish places just in case. We also talked about things we were still looking forward to in the spring and summer. And we had no idea just how much the world was about to change.
The track meet on March 12, 2020 ended up being the last thing that went as planned in 2020. The kids came home for spring break and never went back to school. There were lots of Senior year losses for Payne. A lost soccer season for Addison, where her brother would get to be her coach for the only time in her soccer playing years. A lost job. Re-imagined birthdays, cancelled trips, new buzzwords and phrases like “social distancing” “unprecedented” (I’m ok if I never hear that word again!) and “don’t forget your mask”.
And if that wasn’t enough, racial tensions erupted into civil unrest as our country as a whole reacted to racism at its ugliest on display. Weeks of protests and riots added to an already high stress, high tension and high anxiety year. And we had only hit summer.
2020 was a tough one. Natural disasters, death, sickness, separation, isolation, job loss, financial struggles…just the tip of the iceberg for so many of us. It seemed like the year that would never end.
Can I tell you the greatest gift that I think I received in 2020? The painful realization that there is no guarantee of that next thing. I didn’t know on March 12, 2020 that I’d never see Payne run in a Tivy uniform again. Didn’t this virus know that I had other track meets on my calendar for his Senior year? I didn’t know church would stop meeting in the traditional fashion. I have friends who didn’t know they’d never see a loved one again the last time they saw them. Friends who had no idea that when they left work on that random Tuesday that they’d never go back to that job. Because it was gone. So many sudden, unexpected endings.
But for me, experiencing some of that really was a bittersweet gift. I sat at Addison’s first volleyball game this year and remember thinking, “I need to soak this all in. They may not get a second game.” And honestly thinking that every time I sat down in a gym. I think that perspective helped me a lot in situations where I would have preferred a little less “safety protocol”. I could quickly remind myself that a year ago, we couldn’t do this at all, so I can endure this “safety protocol” so this thing, this event can happen. Even if it meant I was a little uncomfortable.
This week I had a moment that felt full circle. Addison had a track meet in Wimberly. On March 10, 2021. Almost 1 year to the day from her brother’s last meet. In the same location. And for the first time in a year, masks were optional. And things felt hopeful. I got emotional connecting those dots. It was a hard year. There’s no one that wasn’t touched by the virus in some way. But it felt, in a way, like this circle came around and closed.
It reminded me that sometimes God takes us back to places of loss so that we can really see how far we’ve come. And really see the good He can work in and bring from anything. Sometimes it takes a year to come full circle. Sometimes it takes many. Whether you’ve come full circle or are waiting for that moment when you feel the circle close, God is working. And He is good.