Seeing and Seeing To In 2021

Finally, it comes to end, this 2020 called by many – though not all – an annus horribilis.  For many of us, of course, it has been a strange year with much disappointment and anxiety: lost opportunities, the lack of familiar social and religious comforts, alongside of the pounding presence of never really feeling confident in making plans. 

But I also know of people who have found their footing in this dystopian time – discovering new possibilities in the space opened up and discovering physical and spiritual practices that would have been untapped had this been an annus ordinarius.  I suspect that most of us have had a mixed experience but we are tipped in the direction of wanting to shake off this year because its character of unpredictability is so unsettling.  And we don’t like being unsettled – be it by unemployment, or uncertainty, or illness.  And that is utterly understandable.  But this year also afforded us the opportunity to learn from our experiences. The data of our year – whether it be tragedy, or triumph, or a mix – provides an occasion for taking stock of our place in the universe.  Of course, this is always true but something about this apocalyptic year has sharpened our capacity to look at our lives more acutely.

That feeling of being unsettled, of course, is always just behind the curtain upon which we project our cinematic sense of self.  Down deep, we know that our carefully crafted narratives are subject to another illness, or a shift in relationships, or a fractured spirituality.  But right now, the curtain has drawn open and the film of our life is projected onto a spherical ball with projectile-like spikes.  And the image that results is hard to discern, and so we hunker down, or we shake our fist, or we make an anxious plan.

These responses are neither right nor wrong.  How we respond is who we are, and we are accepted as such by Love.  But Love also invites us to consider if this is how we want to be.  Love invites us to look at whom we have become. It calls us to behold the gift we are and our invitation to growth – both of these now present in our being human.  Our being gift, of course, is radically recast in these COVID-19 days as we realize anew the profundity of presence.  And growth, too, is being drastically reframed for us in these strange days as we ponder that sometimes growing means letting go and being less, doing less, being content with less.  Powerful forces try to negate this message. Yet that little sphere with its spikes reminds us that less can sometimes do more than principalities and powers and doing with less can be more than we can ever imagine.  We have seen strange things in 2020.

Blessings to you, dear readers, as you see, and see to, yourselves into 2021.

8 thoughts on “Seeing and Seeing To In 2021

  1. arlavergne says:

    Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
    Guilty of dust and sin,
    But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
    From my first entrance in,
    Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
    If I lacked anything.

  2. maarten.wilbers@bluewin.ch says:

    Dear Allen, Just want to thank you imnediately for your final reflection of 2020, which found Cynthia and myself having drinks in our kitchen, listening to the BBC (a joy forever!). A very small-scale New Year’s eve here this time – with key ingredients being Scrabble and a bottle of champagne, not to mention each other’s company! Once again, your reflection inspires us – to be content and live through faith and love. Please salute your nice little clan – you are blessed indeed, as are we on this side. We wish you all an annus mirabilis! tt Maarten (and Cynthia)

    • agjorgenson says:

      Many thanks Maarten and Cynthia! An annus mirabilis for you as well. New Years will be quiet here as well… alas no BBC, but we have our own comforts in Canada! With kind regards, the Jorgensons

  3. Elsie Millerd says:

    Thank you for this sensitive reflection, Allen. Blessings to you and your loved ones in the New Year.

  4. Beautiful, Allen. If ever we learned we control nothing but our response.

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