This phrase has been on my mind for a few weeks now. The irony in this phrase is deep. I understand the phrase originated in knowing that when we look back we can see clearly, we can see with 20/20 vision. But this phrase has also been on my mind this season because I keep thinking, what are we learning, experiencing, or what habits are we forming or do we need to hang on to as we enter into the future living into a “new normal?”
A few days into me pondering this phrase, I stumbled across a video, the great realization, on the internet that I think is simply profound (you can watch it at youtube.com/watch?v=Nw5KQMXDiM4). The four-minute video is of a dad telling his son a bedtime story. The little boy asked for the story about the virus. The dad then tells a story that sounds like a fairytale full of moral lessons. In the end you realize it is a classic fairytale where the goal is for the listener to learn from the past, a cautionary tale if you will. The story highlights some parts of our world that I think most of us know are not the best, but we also have given into “it’s the times we are living in.” Things like families starting to talk less because devices/phones have taken over their family time, and how the “life work balance had broke,” the story says all the kids’ eyes have become square (also a comment on how much screen time we are exposed to). The story also comments on how some of our habits are affecting the environment around us. But then it also continues how, when the virus hit the world, it made people start to evaluate life around them.
This story helps us to see how in this great moment of fear and unknown future, we have started to hold on to or even rediscover what we actually hold dear. Things like dancing in the kitchen, going for a run, playing a game, putting a puzzle together, or having a conversation face to face.
When we look back at this time, what will make us say “hindsight is 2020?” What are we learning from 2020 that we need to hold dear and allow our lives to be changed? This time has not been easy in so many different ways and we know there will be ramifications for days, weeks, months, years to come. We have seen many other “hindsight is 2020” moments in history that changed what “normal” was and created a new normal. We are an Easter people, we have the hindsight of knowing the end of the story every time we read Scripture and hear the story of a savior that so loved the world he was willing to die for it. We have the hindsight of knowing the day a new way to love entered the world, a love that is demonstrated to us and we just try to replicate.
As we continue to live in the season between the day of Easter and the day of Pentecost, we have hindsight to see how the world changed, how our lives were changed, how our hearts were changed. If we didn’t know the end of the story how would we hear the words “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and love your neighbor has yourself” or “I have gone to prepare a place for you.”
We don’t know the end of our story yet, we don’t know what 2020 will look like when we look back on it. But it is my prayer that we stay open to all that God is teaching us, showing us, and imploring us to do. My pondering is God is showing us what happens when we slow down, when we take a moment to breathe, when we value the small things and make decisions on what’s best for the whole, not just me. I know each of us will walk into the future holding different memories, having learned different lessons and carrying different burdens. But I also know God already has the hindsight, God knows what we need and abundantly offering it to us. And God knows the answer to the end of the story, “but why did it take a virus to bring the people back together?” God knows, and I pray we are learning, too.
- What new habits are you learning?
- What old habits are you hoping to not pick up again, or need to be changed in the future?
- What memories will you take from this time that you will look back and smile about? What parts of our current reality are hard, that might take some time to process?
Can we see 2020 with 20/20 vision just yet? Not really, but what can we pray so we learn all that God is showing us?