Johnny ‘Joey’ Jones: As 2020 nears finish, I am selecting to replicate on the nice in a tough yr


I’ve by no means been a lot of an anniversary type of man. I don’t dread sure occasions of the yr due to sure occasions in my previous, and I don’t really feel any further particular sense of remembrance or nostalgia on holidays. After all, there are exceptions. On Memorial Day, I really like and miss my brothers, however I really feel their absence day-after-day.  

To say “this yr is completely different” is a gross understatement. By any measure, 2020 has taken an incalculable toll on our society and communities. As we flip the nook to a brand new yr and face the approaching anniversary of the coronavirus reaching our shores, we have the chance to take inventory of what we now have misplaced and gained from this season of affliction. 

Anniversaries don’t need to be about dwelling up to now; they could be a probability to recalibrate and take into consideration the way you need to move forward

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Personally, this actually has been one absolutely horrible and tough yr. I’m usually late to the get together, however I used to be surprisingly early to the distress that has been 2020. This week will mark precisely one yr since my dad fell to the ground in my house, at 5 a.m., two Sunday mornings after Thanksgiving, from a pulmonary coronary heart assault. After pounding on his chest for what appeared like hours, he was rushed to the hospital by EMTs and 24 hours later he left us.  

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We misplaced my maternal grandmother only a week earlier than him, and his mom six weeks later. I started 2020 with my household congregated in the identical funeral house parlor for the third time and delivering my second eulogy. For the primary time, I felt the superior duty of being the patriarch of my lineage.  

This yr, as I sat down to complete off the final slice of pumpkin pie, feeling compelled to look again and take into consideration all of the tragedy that has stuffed and outlined this previous journey across the solar, one thing superb started to occur. I started to relive some moments and milestones that precipitated my coronary heart to ache, not with sorrow however with one thing like pleasure. 

Sure, this yr has been terrible. We’ve endured raging fires, our cities had been looted and set ablaze as tensions between our heroic regulation enforcement and communities that really feel unfairly policed boiled over. We had been hit with the one-two punch of a virus and financial crash which have ravaged our nation, leaving their mark not simply in worry, illness and dying, but additionally within the very approach we understand our security and safety inside society. We noticed beloved nationwide figures and celebrities move away and are actually in throes of a contested presidential election.  

How might I look again at a yr that’s taken a lot and really feel so blessed, so gratified?

So why was I so pleased? How might I look again at a yr that’s taken a lot and really feel so blessed, so gratified? The reply is straightforward, actually, as a result of life, full with its triumphs and tribulations, carries on.  

On this similar yr, partly because of the canceled journey and closed locations of commerce, I discovered myself precisely the place I wanted to be: with my household. I watched our daughter take her first steps, and was there as she spoke her first phrase, Daddy. I watched her craft some spectacular dance strikes to a shocking vary of songs. Our son, the nerdier clone of his father, began center faculty, baseball and the band, as he lastly discovered one thing he really enjoys doing along with his dad … capturing sporting clays!  

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In a extra solemn, however equally celebratory vogue, I marked a full decade since surviving a bomb blast in Afghanistan that solely took my legs when it would’ve taken my life. I discovered persistence and achievement the place earlier than was frustration and discontent with people who find themselves essential to me.  

I do know not everybody has these similar blessings. I’m positive elements of this yr have hit a lot of you a lot in another way. However I’ve realized the distinction between a dealing blow and a budding alternative is commonly perspective.  

I’ve realized that the ache we really feel when somebody leaves us solely exists due to the enjoyment they bring about us whereas we now have them. Maybe most significantly, I realized I’m however one small a part of a individuals so sturdy, resilient and lifeless set on prosperity that even 2020 can’t take our thirst for enjoyable, happiness and love away.  

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Because the literal finest worst yr of my life passes by, and the top of this uniquely terrifying and enlightening calendar yr involves its finish, take a second to replicate. I encourage – no, implore you – to seek out the grins hidden inside the frowns. I problem you to recollect that you’re blessed since you’re right here, residing, respiration and preventing for that subsequent superb yr. A yr of alternative in your life which will simply be yet another rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” away. The selection is, and has at all times been, yours to make.  

So make this yr the final worst yr and discover that hope solely tomorrow brings. God bless and thanks for reminding me why this yr as a lot as any, I’m so proud to easily be an American. 

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