2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and a rough year for many. Shutdowns, disruption, illness, death, protests, unrest, anxiety, fear, job losses, kids at home, the elections – these things have unsettled our reality for the past several months.
And now we come to the winter holidays, which on a very basic level are about light. The light of hope, the light of reason, the light of love, the light of wisdom, and the return of the light through the darkness.
Light allows us to see and proper amounts of light allow us to see clearly and in detail. As we approach Hanukkah in the year of COVID – what has the light revealed to us? What have we seen in the strange, unsettling light of 2020?
A crisis is always a time of opportunity. When our routines and sense of normalcy is shattered, we are, despite the turmoil, offered a chance to see things differently, to peer beneath the surface and see our lives a bit more clearly.
The limitations and disruptions of this year has shown a light on our marriages and relationships, our families, our careers, our homes, our schedules, our attachments, our health, and our habits. Despite the pain many of us have felt, what have we seen more clearly in our lives? What has come into better focus?
Friends have shared how they have appreciated being taken out of the comfort of a routine that now they recognize wasn’t all that meaningful. Others tell me that this year has been about simplicity and seeing clearly what really matters now that many extraneous distractions have ceased. Some have shared how they have grown closer to their spouse or partner given the gift of more time together.
In about two weeks we’ll be lighting the first candle on the menorah. As nature grows still and the light fades before being renewed, let us take some time to reflect on what we have seen more clearly in this year of crisis and try to apply that wisdom in the year to come.