I don’t believe that God punishes us by making bad things happen. I do, however, suspect that he tests challenges us from time to time, not to prove our love for him but to remind us that we are strong and intelligent. We can figure it all out if we use our heads and are kind and thoughtful.

This past year has been challenging for sure. It’s not up for debate that lots has been thrown at us. Not just Americans, but (as my granddaughter Mylee would say) THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. In addition to the obvious challenge, that being COVID-19, we have had hurricanes and tornadoes and social challenges and political strife. That’s just to name a few.

The crabbiness that I often read on Next Door notwithstanding, for the most part, I think we all have handled it pretty darn well. Oh, there are always going to be a few bad apples in the bushel basket, and there are always going to be times when the challenges get to us, but most of us are doing things we wouldn’t have imagined we would be doing a mere 10 months ago. Almost without exception, people in Colorado are dutifully wearing their masks. I see many people putting the ubiquitous hand sanitizer on their hands before and after entering buildings. Businesses are mostly doing what they’re supposed to do, despite the inconvenience. Yesterday I got my haircut and a pedicure at two different businesses, one right after the other. Both took my temperature when I entered, and both carefully sanitized my seat before sitting me down.

As disrupted as our lives are, I don’t observe a lot of grumpy people. As folks walk past our house, if I’m outside, they almost always give me a cheerful hello. People in the grocery stores are mostly courteous and willingly help me if I’m unable to reach items on the top shelf. Even my nemesis Next Door has many stories about people trying to help find missing dogs or cats, people who have found someone’s keys or wallets, or stories about others who have helped them move their garbage cans when they’re old or infirm.

Remember how the Israelites pushed back when God presented them with all of the challenges they faced as they wandered in the desert. Even when they bitched and moaned about being hungry or thirsty or tired or feeling abandoned, God eventually sent help. Sometimes the help he provided required them to pitch in and fight for themselves. That’s what we are doing right now, and it seems to me that despite the news on television, we are doing pretty darn well.

Everyone — including me — keeps saying they’ll be glad when 2020 is ended. The truth unfortunately is that when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2021, things are likely to not have changed a bit. What we really must do is keep up our spirits, follow the rules, and be kind to one another.

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