If you could stand at a distance of 20 feet from 2020, what would you see?
What kind of depth and sense of dimension would there be?
Would you be squinting to make out the detail?
Would it be in vivid color, distorted, or even perhaps washed out?
Would anything be encroaching from your left or right?
Would you wonder if what you’re seeing is perhaps an illusion?
Would you divert your gaze altogether, choosing to focus on something else?
I wouldn’t blame you. It’s been that kind of year.
20/20 vision is the ability to see things clearly from a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/100 vision, you can only see things clearly from 20 feet that others with 20/20 vision can see clearly from 100 feet. But visual acuity is only one part of effective vision. There’s also peripheral awareness (side vision), eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability, and color vision. There’s an awful lot that goes into having perfect vision, isn’t there?
2020 vision, by my definition, is the ability to experience the year we’ve just lived through and still be able to look ahead with optimism and hope.
I’ll refrain from discussing the particulars surrounding events that have and have not happened this year. There are plenty of folks doing that quite vigorously.
I simply wish to say that, regardless of what it is that you see when you look upon 2020, we all lived it together. Even though it felt at times, some quite prolonged, some still lingering, that we were on our own. Either as individuals or as groups identifying with particular sets of values and worldviews.
This is not new. Neither are unexpected external events that crash our party from time to time.
The temptation is to respond to this uncertainty with fear and retaliation, hoping to protect ourselves and those we love. It’s quite natural. We are faced with challenging circumstances of which most of us are entirely unfamiliar. However, this doesn’t negate our connectedness to every living being on this planet, regardless of worldview or status. It doesn’t thwart our responsibility to look out for each other as we look out for ourselves and our own, however that takes shape.
Many lines have been drawn in 2020. While they feel very real, they are indeed artificial. There is only one line which we all toe, not out of compulsion to follow a particular authority structure, but because we are by virtue of our existence one race of people.
This holiday season is a reminder that we are all connected, that it is possible to love, care for, and make sacrifices for each other even, and especially, when we see things differently.
I admit that this may all seem quite naive. A nice dream, but not practical for the world we live in. It’s true that I am a hopeless romantic who sees things as they could be even when I know it’s unlikely. Still, it is by way of dreaming that we get our first glimpse of what is possible, setting us on a path that leads us in a better direction, even if not everyone chooses to travel it.
So, I invite us all to travel the unified path. This doesn’t require unified thought and opinion. Only a willingness to walk forward together, in spite of perceived differences, believing that we are more of who we are meant to be when we see everyone as worthy of our love and kindness.