Happy New Year! Now there is a phrase filled with all sorts of questions, opportunities and possibilities this time around! Will it be happy? How can we tell? Do we say “Happy New Year!” with confidence that it will contain happiness, or out of hope that it might, or in defiance from a place where we feel happiness is unlikely? After a year like 2020 it’s hard to tell, especially as there still seem to be tough times ahead.
As parents of children with additional needs, we become used to mixed emotions, a roller-coaster ride of great highs and deep lows, but what does a New Year bring for us? More of the same, or will this year bring change?
As we look back through last year, for many of us it has been a very dark and difficult time. Twelve months ago, hardly anyone had heard of Coronavirus or COVID-19, we didn’t have much use for the word ‘lockdown’ and we looked ahead with hope to the year ahead. Wherever we were on the Brexit debate, or whatever our hopes for the US Presidential election, it seemed that those would be the big stories of 2020, and while they still were (and are) big stories, the news is still dominated by the virus.
For many we couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel we were in, only more darkness. We mourned, and continued to mourn, for the loss of so many people taken too soon. We’ve also mourned the loss of jobs and much needed income for many, the loss of being able to meet with family and friends, the loss of time at school for our children, the loss of respite and support services, the loss of everyday activities, therapies and inputs that we took for granted. Would those ever return?
Throughout this difficult time, many of us have been kept going by the love, support and prayers of wonderful people… some that we know very well, some that we know a little, others that through the wonders of social media we don’t really know at all, but who nevertheless were thinking of us, cheering us on, and in some cases praying for us.
We’re not back to where we all were before it all started yet; the inoculations are being rolled out but it will take months for everyone to be protected. Even then, things will not be the same as they were in January 2020, the world will be different. We’ve all journeyed so far since this time last year. But better days will come, days which aren’t dominated by the daily briefings about positive cases, hospital admissions, deaths. Days when we will be able to meet up with our loved ones safely, to pop out for lunch, to hug people again.
So take heart, whatever you are facing, however dark your days currently are, there is hope for a brighter tomorrow if you can cling on to it. Surround yourself with people who understand, who ‘get it’. People who will be positive, supporting and encouraging, and if they have a faith will pray. Look for new strategies to try, new ways to make a difference, new ideas.
I am often inspired by the words of Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime leader and a man who knew dark days more than most… who among much great wisdom said these words;
“Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in…”
He didn’t, and neither should we. Never settle for what is left, always strive to regain what was lost, and more!
We have been and continue to be upheld by this wonderfully encouraging and strengthening passage from Jeremiah;
‘“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11.
These words show us that we do not journey alone, but that in all that we experience we can see God at work in our lives.
So, will this be a positive Happy New Year ahead for you and your family? I hope and pray that it is. Never stop trying to make it so; never give in and maybe, like us, you will look back a year from now and be amazed at what a difference a year can make!
Happy New Year!
4th January 2020
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