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Guest Viewpoints

Saying Good Bye to a Year of Lessons and Welcoming in a Year of Hope

January 6, 2021
By Calliopi G. Bertos

2020 will soon be a memory. Usually this time of year everyone recounts memories of the past year- trying to tuck away the most treasured ones, while desperately attempting to discard any upsetting ones.

Well this has, indeed, been an extraordinarily different year for all of humanity. We have experienced a host of unusual phenomena, in 2020. Firstly, we have realized that our form of government is extremely fragile, that disease and pestilence can wreak havoc to enormous groups of people at the same time, that divisiveness in politics only hinders our growth and personal safety, and that everything we have held dear and assumed "to be a given" is really not!

Let us start with the Pandemic of 2020.

The last time people went through something similar to this was in 1918! Luckily, most of us were not around then to draw any comparisons. The old way of living is now replaced with caution, distance and fear. Our daily reality has been disrupted and we have been forced to face an evasive and invisible enemy. Thankfully, a vaccine has been developed as of late. Eventually, it seems most of us will likely try to purge its memory the moment we resume our regular lives.

Causes of the Pandemic include many theories concerning its origins, ranging from close contact to bats, government conspiracies, chemical warfare, fake news to God knows what else.

The truth is, however, that this pandemic has given the opportunity to many individuals worldwide to reflect on their own lives, to determine what is truly important. The precious human experiences we crave the most were snatched from us this year, a touch, a hug, enjoying in-person relationships among other beautiful aspects of life.

For some losing their loved ones was unimaginably devastating chiefly because it happened all so suddenly and they were forced to be apart from them at the very end. So much heartbreak…

Here in the States, we had a presidential election like no other in history. The U.S.A. has come to the realization that our form of government is both valuable, but at the same time extremely vulnerable.

Politicians on both sides politicized the virus.

I had expected that we would have united as a one nation without partisan differences, so that we could confront the emergency head on.

It is never late to do so…

Whenever something bad occurs, we usually say there is a lesson to be learned. This would be true for the year 2020, too.

It was a year of heartache, but also one of learning important lessons: Life is precious, human relationships are paramount in our well-being, and it is the simple things in life that count. Health, love of family and friends, and the joy of living. We have come to realize that there is more than materialistic gain to strive for and there surely is a God. 2020 may not have been a great year, but it can be considered a great teacher.

As the ancient Greeks have said,

"Ουδέν κακόν αμιγές καλού."

"There is no evil that does not give birth to some good."

Lastly, we must all hold on to HOPE.

Hope is the spiritual gift that ALL will be better in the future.

As Emily Dickinson once said, 

"Hope is a thing of feathers

That perches in the soul.

And sings the tune without the words.

And never stops at all.”

Hoping 2021 brings HEALTH, HAPPINESS, PEACE and LOVE to everyone!!!

We all deserve it. God Bless everyone!

Calliopi G. Bertos is a Professor of Humanities with a specialty in English and Linguistics and teaches at various New Jersey and New York universities. She is a New Jersey resident with roots from the town of Aperi on the Dodecanesian island of Karpathos.

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