It’s finally 2021! For many weeks people have been saying that they were looking forward to saying good riddance to 2020. And in a lot of ways, they have a point. But I think 2020 brought us a lot of gifts along with the challenges, and I’d like to discuss that.

 

Pandemic

 

At New Year’s 2020 none of us saw the pandemic becoming such a disruption to our lives. I have never seen illness so widespread.

 

So many people lost loved ones, jobs, and their way of life was seriously disrupted. We have many industries that took a serious hit. I must acknowledge all these things before going on. I don’t want anyone to think I am minimizing the pain of 2020.

 

Despite the terrible challenges the pandemic brought into our lives, we are resilient. The human family learned and adapted, and today life is much more stable than when the whole world shut down. Many have commented that they are sure that 2021 will be the year that COVID goes away. And I truly hope that is true. But even if it isn’t, we will manage well because we have already learned all we need to do to cope.

 

Earthquakes

 

There have been many major earthquakes in the world in 2020. I have family in the Salt Lake valley, and even though the place is riddled with fault lines, Salt Lake had never had a major quake until 2020.

 

Many historic buildings were shaken, and the Angel Moroni on the Salt Lake Temple lost his trumpet. The quake came right after lockdown and really disrupted life for weeks with aftershocks.

 

But there is good news in this. Earthquakes are now no longer something they have never experienced. Everyone knows how to handle it and have had practice in earthquake proofing. And if another big quake comes it won’t be the end of the world. Because we will know what to do, and we are already prepared.

 

Food shortages

 

Part of the fun of a pandemic and lockdown is food shortages. The strangest things were gone off the shelves. Ramen noodles ran out completely in my grocery store. That is one thing I never expected to miss either.

 

And Gluten free pasta was really hard to find. So now I have a stockpile if we ever run short again. But in the shortages we got used to trying new foods and eating out of the garden. I think that change was good for us.

 

We even did something to prevent another toilet paper shortage from effecting our family. We got a bidet! My son loves it, and I love how much cleaner it leaves you than toilet paper. Sometimes challenges like a pandemic give us new solutions to problems we didn’t even know we had.

 

Wild Fires

 

What was with all the fires this year? It seemed like the whole world was burning! Poor Australia and a chunk of the western part of America burned in 2020.

 

My neighbor’s 5-year-old was devastated when he realized Koala Bears were suffering. He prayed for them every night. And the whole world prayed for those who had lost everything.

 

I haven’t figured out a solution or a comfort to the fires. We definitely are praying they do not return with 2021. But in the process of praying for so many people in 2020 we got really good at it. So the up side here is that our prayer muscles and our faith grew in 2020. And we will be better prepared for 2021 because of it.

 

Quarantine

 

Quarantine threw me for a loop. I remember driving to the store during that time and being shocked that every parking lot EVERYWHERE was totally empty.

 

I was one of maybe 5 cars on the street in my large town. Prior to the lockdown my husband traveled at least 60% of the year for his job. He would leave Monday morning and fly home on Thursday night.

 

But when all the borders closed some of his co-workers were almost trapped in other countries. So his company changed their plans and all travel will be remote till mid 2021. It has been a HUGE change for him. But we love the extra family time we get with him home. And even though I think most of us went a little crazy in quarantine, the blessings of renewed family relationships were much needed.

 

Working from home

 

When the lockdown happened many people suddenly had to change how they did their jobs. One of the wonderful things that came out of the pandemic was the new trend of working from home.

 

Some of my friends worked in places that would just pass germs around in a cycle that never ended. But now they are all working remotely and are much healthier for it.

 

My family is working from home too. And we have never been healthier. Although the worry of COVID hangs over every person in the world, at least we haven’t been in contact with others to catch our usual colds and flu. This social distancing is a blessing for that reason. I do miss seeing people, but it makes those I get to see matter that much more.

 

School at home even in 2021

 

And finally, one of the hidden blessings of 2020 for our family has been school at home. I have known for years that my son would only truly thrive if he schooled from home. But I was afraid of failing him as a teacher, so I never tried as hard as I should have. With 2020 and schools needing to close, and when they opened they were only at partial capacity, homeschool became our answer.

 

To read more of Abby’s articles in her Living in Harmony column, click here.

We really gave long term homeschool a try and found it to be exactly what he needs. For the first time in his life, he hasn’t burned out before the semester ended. He is excited about school and reminds me of lessons.

 

His stress levels are much lower, and I am not having to medicate him for his ADHD. We just work around it and take many breaks. It is amazing to see him thrive.

 

Many are speculating about what 2021 will look like. But I think that even if 2021 is exactly the same as 2020, we will be ok. Because the lessons we have learned and the changes we have made will make us stronger for anything it may throw at us.

About Abby Christianson
Abby is capable and caring. She is learning more about Autism and parenthood every day. Having completed training to be an RBT (Registered Behavior Technician) for ABA therapy she is beginning to understand her son. And even though she is the first to admit she makes a lot of mistakes, she is so grateful to be on this journey. She comes from a family with many autistic members. She invites us to join her, as she shares her adventures. She wishes to emphasize that Autism is a difference not a defect. If you or a family member have autism, Abby wants you to know that the challenges can be overcome, and there are blessings in autism. You or your loved one are not sick or broken. Together we will teach the world this new language.

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