2020: Best Year Ever
Time magazine probably expressed the feelings of millions with its recent cover story, “2020: The Worst Year Ever.”
However, at the risk of appearing insensitive, tone deaf, or braggadocious, I think of 2020 as my best year ever.
Not because it was my best year for income in more than 35 years of freelancing. I’m not crowing about that; given the erratic nature of my income, in the past I have seen great years followed by so-so ones.
No, money will not stand out when I reflect on 2020. It’s what I have learned about my shortcomings. It has been a year accentuated by humbling and new awareness of my faults.
The first thing I realized that needs additional refining is my temper. To appreciate its relevance, you have to consider how I used to explode in the twinkling of an eye.
In the days before I decided to follow Jesus as Lord, I thought life essentially revolved around me. So anyone who interrupted my day, did something that displeased me, or otherwise inconvenienced me was sure to hear about it.
Along the way, I bruised plenty of feelings, created all kinds of conflict, and made myself persona non grata in a number of places.
There were many other sins I had to confess when I accepted Christ’s sacrifice, and the frequency of their occurrence gradually diminished. None as much as my temper—or so I thought.
Then, after years of relative calm, along came the pandemic of 2020.
After widespread lockdowns began, I erupted three times in a short span of time over things that didn’t merit a harsh reaction. Like so many issues that can upset me, they were trifles on the scale of importance.
Once I appreciated how foolishly I had acted, I backed off. For a while, at least. Until autumn arrived along and other irritations surfaced.
Among them were grappling with technology problems and snags with a prescription. The latter forced me to pay a local pharmacy for a 30-day supply while I waited for an insurance mail order mess to get straightened out.
Despite that, I shared with members of our church during a testimony service how during such incidents God had helped me to avoid the bitter explosions that used to characterize me.
Naturally, in the week that followed I endured an insult aimed in my direction and a second round of prescription hassles. While I didn’t say much publicly, I found myself battling inner anger.
God also showed me that I need to develop a more diplomatic tone and curb my often-brusque manner when working with authors or interacting with other people.
There’s an upside to my frank nature: no one doubts what I think or where I stand. But Ephesians 4:15 says to speak the truth “in love,” a quality I often lack.
In particular, the Lord showed me that instead of recently telling an author I had deleted a phrase, calling it unnecessary and repetitious, I could have gently asked, “I’m not sure why you added this; can you explain?”
There were other humblings, including an author recently asking the publishing company that had sent me his project for a different writer to finish the last two chapters of his book.
Fortunately, God allowed me to move on without being crushed by disappointment. That’s because He had already shown me: I’m not done growing.