Every year in December, I take time to reflect on the past year. I look through journal entries and notes, scroll through past social media posts, and think about significant experiences that happened. This practice helps me to step back and take a deeper look, recognize what I learned, and embrace the coming new year. Here are some of my reflections as I look back on 2020.
1. What was the best thing that happened this year?
Absolutely the best thing that happened this year was that we adopted our son Austin. He has been a gift to our family since we began fostering in 2019, and we finalized his adoption in summer of 2020.
2. What was the most challenging thing that happened?
What WASN'T challenging this year? This year was marked by COVID-19, and the endless ways it disrupted every part of life. I suppose the most challenging thing for me personally was discerning how to adjust to so many changes, and how to help our kids through those adjustments at the same time. Navigating school closures, not gathering with anyone in person, finding new ways to connect with community, etc. was incredibly difficult.
3. What was an unexpected joy?
I found so much life and joy within a few relationships with family and friends. Since relationships were distilled in this season, I feel like I had to work harder to lean into my tribe of people, and in turn, I appreciated these connections so much more. Our family of 6 grew in intimacy, with date nights with my husband, family games and hikes, and parent-kid one-on-one excursions. We gathered with extended family for regular Zoom hang outs. Friendships were nurtured through texts and phone calls. This year forced a lot of stripping away and pruning, which ultimately resulted in deeper, more powerful relationships.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Grief. In the spring of 2020, I began to feel grief in different ways and for different reasons. I believe it was catalyzed by the effects of the pandemic, but I also felt layers of grief related to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Grief because of loss and isolation. Grief because of human evil. Grief because of fractures in our world. I did not expect grief, but it came.
5. Pick three words to describe 2020.
Loss. Survival. Liberation.
6. What were the best books you read this year?
The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right by Lisa Sharon Harper
Black Theology and Black Power by James Cone
Theology of the Womb by Christy Angelle Bauman
7. What did you do in 2020 that you've never done before?
I got my real estate license, and joined an incredible team of real estate professionals. I love the people I work with, and the many opportunities I have to steward resources to bless our community in Hawaii. Another first was Steve launching his own mortgage company, Ohana Mortgage Solutions.
8. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for 2021?
I cannot recall if I made any 2020 resolutions, so that says something. As I look ahead to this year, I'm committing to these things:
9. For what are you most grateful?
I'm grateful that we have a good God. I'm grateful that God pours out joy and beauty in the midst of pain and sorrow.
10. How did you change this year?
I feel more comfortable and alive in my unique, female, Asian, almost 40 year old self.
11. What moments were most memorable?
12. What were your greatest discoveries?
13. What are you looking forward to this coming year?
Healthier leadership in the United States. Hopefully an eradication to COVID-19. Turning 40 in January!
14. What was the most significant thing you learned this year?
I learned how desperate I am to be part of creating shalom and wholeness in the world.
What are your reflections on the past year? What are your hopes for this coming year? Feel free to use the above questions as a way to do your own reflection.
P.S. My blog posts are rare. Older posts are archived on The Larissa Monologues. If you are on Instagram, I'd love to connect there! @larissalmarks
Aloha! I'm Larissa. I help others go deeper in the faith journey with God.
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