Everyone seems to be celebrating the fact that 2020 is OVER. As if all the challenges we’ve faced over the past months–political upheaval, race issues, the pandemic, and so on–are suddenly over and done.

Phew. Now that’s behind us!

Hmmm. I haven’t really noticed anything different. Have you? The headlines haven’t suddenly changed. We’re still dealing with all kinds of restrictions and limitations. And it seems like half of the country is mad at the other half for a new reason every other day. And I’m still using Zoom!

And yet, I’m glad 2020 is behind us, too. Maybe nothing’s changed, but it feels like we’ve reached a milestone. Like now that we’ve come this far, there’s hope we can keep going.

During a hike this past week, we passed a family on the trail. Thistle, the friendliest dog on the planet, greeted them and from the four-year-old on up they were delighted to pet and praise her. As we continued on, the mom called out, “Happy New Year!”

“Yes, we made it!” I called back. “Although I’m not sure anything’s different, I hope it will be.”

“That’s what’s different,” the mom said. “We have hope.”

And there it is. Why 2021 feels significant. All through 2020 we hoped that the virus would be under control by spring. Okay, that it would wane with the heat of summer. Fine, that restrictions would slow things down so that we might be able to loosen restrictions in the fall. Aw, the heck with it. Get used to disappointment.

All that hope for 2020 was a bust. And, let’s face it, 2021 might not be any better. But then again . . . it could be better.

I’ve always been an optimist. But this past year has sorely tried my ability to look on the bright side. As we move into 2021 I’m daring to hope again.

Here’s hoping you are too.