That seems like it should be a simple question, or it should be anyway. For parents of young children and teachers, it is a constant inquiry. But in 2020, it became the question we all started asking.
This year Google released the top internet searches for the year, and sure enough, they all began with “why?” If we simply look back and really remember the year, I’m sure we can recall all the why’s we’ve asked ourselves.
Why are wildfires so common now? Why is Iran threatening nuclear war?
Why is my state issuing stay at home orders? Why is it called COVID-19?
Why is race such a polarizing topic? Why is toilet paper so hard to find?
Why did I lose my job? Why did my friend lose his job? Why am I worried?
Why can’t I sleep?
This year was a demonstration of the question “why?” So often, as adults we had to be honest and say “I really don’t know.” Sometimes we would speak confidently to reassure others or maybe even just ourselves. But beneath it all, in 2020, we wondered why?
What Happened In 2020?
I read an article recently about all the difficult, and frankly traumatic, experiences we have endured this year. If you don’t like the word “trauma” I don’t either. It feels like it implies weakness. But trauma doesn’t communicate weakness – it is an expression of being human. We lost a lot in 2020 – the world as we knew it, ended. Jobs, homes, security, certainty, and sadly many lives, vanished before our eyes – almost overnight. I don’t know if we will ever go back to that world. In the midst of that loss though, I think we discovered something as we asked hard questions.
Why is my neighbor offering to pay my light bill for me after I lost my job?
Why are people staying at home when they aren’t at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19?
Why are companies stepping up and paying essential workers more during the pandemic or even donating free house cleanings?
Why is my friend buying groceries for the elderly?
Why are our customers still paying us even though we can’t come to clean their homes?
The answer is love.
We saw that love in 2020. We saw medical staff risk their lives to spare ours. We saw essential workers report to factories and warehouses. We saw truck drivers work more hours and drive more miles.
We saw the risks our fellow man was facing, and out of love we each acted to help each other. The world has always been a risky place, we are just more aware of it now. Peril always looms close by. In 2020, so many people got up each morning and embraced the peril, stifling their own fear, doubt, and worry, to help other people.
Why am I going to work at the power plant during a pandemic? Because I love people and they need power. Why am I staying at home even though I have cabin fever? Because I love people and want them to be healthy? Why am I tipping so much? Because I love others and I know many are hurting. Why am I texting friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family when I found hand sanitizer, facemasks, and toilet paper? Because I love them. Why am I so concerned? Because I love those around me and wish them well.
December is a good month for introspection and reflection. To look back at the last 12 months and remember, reflect, express gratitude, and resolve to continue moving onward into the new year. 2020 challenged all of us and I can easily get distracted by all the hard, traumatic events. But as I look back and reflect, I find hope. When the foundations of our world shook, we found at our core, a willingness to love others and at the very list inconvenience and in many cases risk our own health and safety for people.
Looking Back and Looking Forward
We didn’t love perfectly. We never will. We made mistakes, we argued, we disagreed, we all felt the weight of this smothering year at times and responded poorly. But we kept getting back up. We apologized, we looked out for each other, we supported each other. Twenty years from now, I hope we will look back at this tumultuous year and smile, knowing that in the midst of so much chaos, ruin, and despair, we loved.
As you celebrate the Holidays this year and welcome the New Year, I wish you this simple gift: that you remember the love you have shown others, you see the love others have offered you, and smile knowing that you are loved by friends and strangers alike.
From our family to yours: May everything that is good come out this Holiday season for you and yours!
~ Greg Shepard
Founder and CEO of Dallas Maids, LLC
P.S. If you are one of our amazing customers, you received a not-so-conventual gift 🎁 from us this Holiday season. I hope you find this very practical present useful as you celebrate the holidays. Laugh, eat, rest, and be safe!
P.S.S. I’m grateful for you!