05 Jan Goodbye 2020 – Welcome 2021
Over and over I’ve heard people remark that they were so ready for 2020 to be over. And with the start of the new year, we are all looking forward to a better 2021 – a new beginning, a path to recovery. At the same time, there just might be some things that we learned in 2020 and that are gifts. So, I am curious and reflecting on these questions over the next few weeks: What did I learn? What do I want to keep? In what ways was I generous, compassionate? In what ways did I fight for justice? How am I going to use what I learned in 2020 as I move through 2021?
By nature, I am an optimist. I focus on getting the work done to accomplish goals and the mission of CHRIS 180. I bring this with me into 2021. I also bring some lessons learned, both personally and professionally. I need to slow down and take the time to check in on people more. I need to pick up the phone and call more. I need to ask more questions and find ways to connect with people I don’t get to see in person or during the day. Email, Facebook and social media in general are not always great ways to let people know how much you care. I need to avoid assumptions – thinking people know the stands I take and the issues I fight for each day. And more importantly, I need to give myself and others grace. COVID-19 highlighted all these things and much more. I find myself talking a lot these days about giving each other grace. The lessons I learned in 2020 are gifts I bring with me into 2021. The question for me and for you is how will we use the gifts of 2020 in 2021?
We have some tough times ahead of us as we continue to face down COVID-19, engage ourselves fully in the journey toward true racial justice and healing, restore our economy and work to heal political divides. I know that we can do this if we commit ourselves to these tasks – if we reflect on what we have learned; if we remember to be compassionate, giving ourselves and each other grace; and, if we work hard to make the ideals upon which this country was founded a reality. We can heal our divides by honestly practicing self-reflection, self-examination and by having the courage to admit historical and current mistakes. Recognition of the truth does set us free. This is our opportunity to do away with the stigma of getting mental health treatment and work toward recovery. Together, we can help each other heal from historical and racial traumas and the collective, shared trauma that is COVID-19. Healing requires acknowledgement. Wounds that are shoved under the carpet, never heal. They fester, spread and will eventually destroy us – one way or another. This city, this state and this nation are filled with resilient people – resourceful and inventive. People who have the courage to face truth and heal. Working together we can build a safer, healthier world for ourselves and our children. Let us commit to making 2021 the year this work begins.
We can do it!
Kathy Colbenson, LMFT is the President & CEO of CHRIS 180. To learn more about CHRIS 180, visit CHRIS180.org.