Thoughts for a Fading Year

Ah, 2020. The year from the void. Over the past week, I’ve seen so many people laugh about shaking the dust of it off their feet as they charge into the New Year, hoping 2021 brings them better luck than its unfortunate predecessor.

That makes me sad.

No, I’m not going to enrage the population (or worse – the internet) by saying something trite. (Count your blessings! It could’ve been worse.) But I think hoping for a better year is setting us up for a quick and premature disaster, because chances are it’s not going to come true.

What happened, happened, and it will happen again, and this fallen world will spin on in its course of destruction until it tears itself apart. I am not surprised by evil. Pain is nothing new, and as the years go by, it only grows older and stronger. I am not surprised by evil, but I’m surprised we think we can run from it. Evil will hound our footsteps until the day it claims our lives.

And I’m sad. I’m sad because of so many things, but most importantly, I’m sad that we’ll never realize 2020 was a good year.

(Stop that. I know you’re sneering.)

I kept a journal this year. I started it January 1st, with the disclaimer that if my past track-record of unfaithful journaling added another failure to its list, I wouldn’t beat myself up about it. Weird thing is, I actually stuck with it. 365 days later, I have a finished journal, and I just started a new one. See, I didn’t try to record my life and everything in it, the ups and downs and (frequent) existential crises. Every day, I tried to write down only one thing. Only one small, insignificant moment that made me happy.

I didn’t realize at the time that the world would soon be thrown into panic, that businesses would shut down and uncertainty would reign supreme and fear, so much fear would choke my nation. All I knew is that I would forget those happy moments if I didn’t write them down.

So, I did.

I wore fuzzy socks today.”

Had a shopping cart race with myself in an empty Walmart aisle.”

Built a bookshelf and vibed to Andrew Peterson.”

The day pandemonium broke loose and the store I worked in was mobbed with frenzied customers ripping toilet paper off the shelves?

I sat with two of my favorite coworkers during lunchbreak and one of them bought me a coffee drink.”

The day we found out quarantines were extending for another three months?

Gummy turtles are adorable. I want to keep one as a pet.”

The day of the elections?

A nice lady gave me a sticker. I felt randomly important.”

So yeah, I’m not ashamed to say 2020 was a good year. I have 365 reasons why, all tucked away in a book. For the world, 2020 was horrible and 2021 will be just as bad, but for me, they’re empty journals waiting to be written in, moments waiting to be lived.

And I think— if you look back, really look, past the sickness and politics and anger, past the riots and fires and fear, fear, fear—

I think you’ll see it was a good year too.

The Lord doesn’t promise us happiness. We find joy in the wonder of who He is, in the light of eternity free from our darkness, in the promise of hope and redemption He gave us with His death. We seize joy in small moments, in little things, in our attitude when the bad things come.

2021 is not an escape. Don’t expect it to treat you well, because it won’t.

But it will be good.

We can make it be good.

I, at least, am going to try.


35 thoughts on “Thoughts for a Fading Year

  1. Finally, finally someone who agrees 2020 was a good year. So many bad things happened, so much evil and darkness spread its vile claws, but there were also so many blessings. We shouldn’t dare forget about them and dwell on the other stuff. This was so inspiring, and I think I’m going to try that journal thing. *eyes stack of blank journals* Yeah those babies need to be put to actual use.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Whaaat this was great. I actually was inspired by another of your posts to start a journal of my own but it was a little difficult to keep up with because I tried filling a PAGE with happy things every day. It didn’t last long. Maybe I should try your strategy and do one thing a day. Or five. That will be enough. 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. *cries*
    This was really beautiful.
    Now, personally I wouldn’t call 2020 ‘good’ in any way. Overall it was terrible for me. And, I’m tired of trying to pretend like it wasn’t. But, there were good things that happened in 2020. And uh, for the record? I’ve never thought 2021 would get ‘better’ than 2020. *winces*

    Anyway, I loved your take on the year, and I’m glad you could focus on the goodness of 2020. And congrats on keeping a journal! I was always terrible at journaling, but for the past 2 years I’ve written nearly every day. (I missed like, 1 day this year)

    Wonderful post Sarah! I suppose I’m a new follower to your blog, but I think I’ll stick around for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is a great post, Sarah. I whole-heartedly agree with everything in it. I’m wary that the new year will likely bring a whole lot more mess, but I’m going to try and hold my head high and keep going nonetheless. 🙂

    I have a post too, on [5 Ways To Appreciate This Year,]( since I know so many people think it brought nothing good, if anyone is interested. Happy new year, everyone! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I at once fervently agree with your first sentiments (I legitimately do not understand why people, year after year, are so excited because they think the next one is going to be better—the world goes round the same), and fervently hope to be more like you in the application of random gratitudes to my whole outlook. It’s easy to find little gratitudes and overflow with joy and even glee for them, but very difficult to let it translate to the whole of my outlook on everything, not just that specific thing.

    “The Lord doesn’t promise us happiness. We find joy in the wonder of who He is, in the light of eternity free from our darkness, in the promise of hope and redemption He gave us with His death. We seize joy in small moments, in little things, in our attitude when the bad things come.”

    Amen to that. May I remember and believe with my actions every moment that this is true in fact, not just theory, because Christ Himself made it so, and He’s the same yesterday, today and forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a great idea. Journal the little things so you can remember them. I have never been able to keep a journal. I think I was worried about someone finding it for some reason? And I didn’t ever know what I would put in a journal. But that is a wonderful idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Welp,
    I’m off to start my own “100 Days of Happiness” journal.

    (seriously though, thank you for this beautiful post, you said all the things I couldn’t find the words for <33).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this and I’m so glad you’re back even if its only for this post. You have inspired me to try a journal like that. It sounds fun. Honestly, for me, this year has not been as awful as everyone says. Thank you for the post and happy new year to all!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tysm for blessing us with this beautiful post and showing us all the good that’s in our lives. And I lowkey freaked out when I got the notif of your post. I missed reading all of the hilarious and profound things you have to say! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for this post! We need to acknowledge that while 2020 was hard in many ways, it was also good in many ways, and we all grew so much, too! 2021 will not necessarily be better, but it will be good in its own way, as well.


  11. I love the idea of the journal you kept, and I think I’m going to keep one this year alongside my diary. Happy New Year! And it’s really funny, but I started out my 2021 goals blog-post expressing similar sentiments to those you did… sad that we didn’t truly embrace 2020. Great minds think alike, I guess. 😉


  12. I’ve been thinking about this same thing! Through 2020 God has shown me His faithfullness in the small things over and over again ☺ Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such a good reminder. When I see how excited people get about the new year, I tend to cynically want to ignore it and point out that really, changing from 2020 to 2021 is the same as moving from any 31st to 1st which is the same as any 11:59 to 12:00 which is the same as any second to the next. It’s so unimportant, and I tend to dismiss the excitement around it. But I think I miss an opportunity to be thankful, to pause and remember how good God has been. You’re right, it’s not the fact that the date has changed that will make this good year. But we do still have a reason to be excited about the future. We have a God that is worth looking forward to.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This was a terrific post! I’m so glad someone is finally being a bit more realistic about the world in general. Thanks for this insightful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. there’s a bit in the hobbit about little people that i think applies to how touching this post is, but i can remember none of it.

    gandalf would be proud though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
      I think that’s what you were talking about lol

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Wow I love this perspective of finding the small joys. I try to journal a lot, but I might do a separate journal of all of these little things to look back on at the end of year. My word for 2021 is rejoice, and I think this may be a good way to start rejoicing in the little things!

    You have no idea how much of an inspiration and encouragement you are!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ve said this before… your sarcastic posts make me laugh, but your serious posts are so, so good. And I totally agree. 2020 certainly had terrible parts, but often the most dramatic years make for the most personal growth, and that’s good with me. I also love the gratitude journal thing! I don’t have a specific journal dedicated to it, but I wrote down a sentence like yours every day in my bullet journal, which I love to look back on.
    Thanks for the encouraging perspective on the new year. And while I’m at it, happy new year, Sarah. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. This is exactly what I’ve been pondering for the last couple of weeks, Sarah! I don’t understand why people think this year is going to be so much better. It’s unrealistic at best. What will they say when the lockdowns happen again? I love what you said about 2021 not being an escape. So true.

    Thanks for spreading the joy of Christ! He is our only escape 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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