It’s April… a year has gone by. An unprecedented, weird, scary, cautious year: four full seasons. A year ago international travel was closed to us (whether we travel or not, it feels restricting), we wear masks that hide our smiles, schools are online, we can’t eat out or go shopping without worrying, we don’t gather in our friend groups, we worry about our friends, our siblings, our parents and grandparents.

A year ago I set out to organize my desk, and my closets, to paint the baseboards, and deep clean the house. I wanted to play in the garden, eat healthy, get in shape. As a natural introvert, I thought this would be a great time to get myself and my house in order.

A year later… I’m still the same, my house is a bit better, more organized and I even repainted the kitchen (last month). I am motivated by the prospect of company for Easter and possibly more throughout the coming year. The vaccine is coming, they say. Life can go back to normal, they say.

We are the fortunate ones: a house and yard to play in, food aplenty, a neighborhood to walk in, working from home. But I miss my friend’s faces and hugs. I miss not thinking twice about heading to the store, a sporting event, a museum, a restaurant. Countless friends, working from home, helping their children with internet class work, are weary. They are tired from pulling double duty, or have just shrugged this off to a lost year.

What about the kids? How do they feel? My young friends have told me that they are lonely if they are doing school online only. The ones on the cusp of high school, but still in middle school, have phones, but have not felt like they have made full connections with classmates to text them about social issues including being lonely or depressed. The older ones, the high schoolers, are kept very busy with schoolwork and the continuing pressure to do well on their standardized exams. They tend to socialize more over the phone if/when they have time, or on zoom calls, or in their sports practices. They have persevered through the year, but are hoping for a more normal year next year with proms and graduations. The youngest have suffered along with their parents, but they are resilient, and will be more grateful for school than they ever thought possible, and able to make up the “lost” time.

Has it been a “lost year”? Or has it been a time for reflection, evaluating what’s important, being grateful for the little things, and holding our loved ones in prayer if not in our arms? The Bible assures us that there is a time for everything, and this season will pass. Life will be a different normal, but there is no doubt that with Spring in the air, that we are all ready for a new season: one of gratitude, kindness and hope.