Lessons from 2020

Megan jonesChaplain’s Corner

Padre Megan Jones

As we celebrate the New Year and say goodbye to 2020 (many of us breathing a sigh of relief), it may be tempting to rush right into 2021 and put this past year behind us. 2020 has been a challenging and tumultuous year, not just for ourselves, our family, our Wing, our country, but for the entire world. But the New Year can offer us a time of reflection, a time to look back and learn what we can from this unprecedented year.

So what can we take with us? What lessons learned can help us as we move into 2021? Here are some things I’ll be taking with me into this New Year:

Never take things for granted –We have all heard these words before, but their meaning has been driven home this past year. COVID has disrupted so much of our lives; weddings, funerals, family gatherings and celebrations have been postponed. Along with our traditional unit gatherings and ceremonies; our sticky floors, mess dinners, acts of remembrance and hockey rivalries. With the roll-out of the vaccine and the potential for a new normal, may we never take these things for granted again. Each time we are able to gather with family, friends and colleagues and share a meal, a hug or even a handshake, may we remember to give thanks, knowing they can never be taken for granted again.

Resilience and adaptability are tools that can be strengthened during difficult times – COVID has pushed many of us to the limit, leaving us feeling exhausted and isolated. Our ability to be resilient and adapt has been crucial over this past year. And that resiliency can be strengthened like a muscle. By changing our perspective, so we focus on what we can control instead of what we can’t and looking for the good amid the anxiety, can help us weather the storms of this pandemic. Also, our ability to adapt is only limited by our creativity and we have seen a lot of that this past year. We found new ways to stay connected, like watch parties and regular video chats. The MFRCS went above and beyond, providing numerous morale boosters to lift our spirits. Units quickly adjusted their focus to manufacture masks. We have shown that we can creatively adapt to the uncertain circumstances of 2020.

Self-Care is essential – Taking care of ourselves during this past year was more important than ever. When we are faced with stress and anxiety, it’s easy for our self-care to move to the back burner. But in order to deal with the unpredictability and isolation, it was important to focus on eating right, exercising and taking care of our own mental health.
The importance of staying connected – While our connections with our family, friends and colleagues has become more difficult to maintain due to social distancing, they have been all the more important during this past year. Our social connections help keep us grounded and mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic. As humans, we are hardwired for connection. And while we have had to work harder and be more creative in order to maintain these connections, they help to lift the burdens we may
be feeling and strengthen the effectiveness of our resiliency.

This past year has been full of difficulties, stressors and frustrations. But it has also offered us blessings, lessons and the potential for growth. Wishing you all health and happiness in the New Year.