Who hasn’t wanted to hide this year? Who didn’t feel the sting of failed hopes and expectations?
Psychotherapist Viktor Frankl survived Nazi prison camps in large part because of his determination to accomplish what he knew life expected from him: the completion of his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and the development of his therapeutic method. That book is, by the way, considerably more powerful for its use of prison camp stories to demonstrate the use of Frankl’s therapies, which depend on the individual’s recognition of the meaning and purpose to be found in the life they have been given.
What did life expect of you in 2020? What is it expecting of you as you look into 2021 — which is likely to hold challenges for many months yet?
One of the things I learned in 2020, as fundraiser for a nonprofit that supports people with disabilities, is that many people become much more generous when they find their circumstances more precarious. As one donor told a colleague in offering his gift, “I have it today, so I should do something helpful with it.” In 2021, I will be responsible in my job for continuing to offer people the hope of doing something valuable, even during unpredictable times.
Outside of work, I see many opportunities to nurture friendships among other older, unmarried women who also are often overlooked. Much as I might expect life — and my married Christian friends — to “set the solitary into families,” as God says will happen (Ps. 68:6) it seems much more likely that we solitary will band together in God’s love to create care groups of our own. This is the life and the task that God has set before us, and as difficult as it may be, we are called to walk into it.
What did 2020 teach you? What opportunities do you see in 2021?
A collection of Viktor Frankl’s lectures was published in 2020 for the first time in English. Say Yes to Life (In Spite of Everything) is encouraging as we continue to live into uncertainty in 2021.