Earlier in the year, things began to look hopeful for 2021 as UK national restrictions started to ease. We saw friends, attended church and went to parties. We enjoyed a taste of the ‘new normal’ everyone had been hoping for. But then, just like that, it disappeared.
I find myself writing this feeling as we’ve almost gone back to the beginning as new restrictions are imposed again. But something feels different this time. Maybe it’s because we’ve gone through this for almost two years, so we’re more prepared. But if this year has taught us anything, it’s that the idea of ‘new normal’ isn’t something we should hold so tightly to, knowing that it can so quickly change.
KEY MOMENTS OF 2021
These moments throughout the year showed that we have indeed evolved and grown and embraced a new way of living. We saw notable people such as Simone Biles and Emma Raducanu open up about their mental health and the need to prioritise their health to achieve what seemed impossible. We also saw a key historical moment when Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd in May 2020 and sentenced to prison for 22 years. It’s the longest sentence a former police officer has ever received. A moment where everyone finally breathed because justice had been sought. We saw countries worldwide commit to taking the climate crisis more seriously at COP26 as they made various pledges to address climate change.
Although there were many key moments to celebrate and reflect on, there is still much work. Racism still exists. Climate injustice still prevails. Mental health still affects many. As we step into the new year, there is a need to continue learning, growing and making steps towards a just world.
IMAGINE THE NEW
I recently read ‘Mirror to the Church’ by Emmanuel Katongole, and he talks about the need to imagine and offer new possibilities for true change to occur. That’s really key for 2022. We will most likely in 2022 still be in this pandemic, but rather than clinging on to hope for normality, how can we offer new possibilities of living in and through this pandemic? And more so, how do we learn to thrive even amid the challenges we face? As we begin to ask these questions, we will truly start to make progress in navigating through the next year ahead.
Let’s not forget these important lessons as we begin to hope for 2022. As we step into the new year, I pray that we will remember what we’ve learned during the last year and in this pandemic.
I pray that we would be filled with imagination to offer the world new hope, not for normality, but the hope of thriving even during the challenges we face.