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April Jeppson: 2020: A year full of pressure and learning

Every Little Thing, By April Jeppson

The other day a co-worker said, “Well, next year can’t be any worse!” It stopped me in my tracks. I immediately looked at them and shouted, “Don’t say that!” Then I quickly found something that was made of wood so I could knock on it. It took a minute, as most of our office furnishings are formica or plastic coating to look like wood. We laughed at my spastic respsonse, but I was dead serious. Next year could totally be worse.

April Jeppson

Murder hornets could actually come and attack us, for real this time. I remember this summer I was walking with a friend, and we saw the largest looking hornet on the ground. It was alive and looked exactly like the pictures floating around the internet. We carefully placed a large rock on top of it to not scare it away but to also ensure it was 100% dead. I took a few pictures then we went inside to do research. We had netted ourselves a cicada killer wasp. Not sure why these small bugs need such intense names, but we were glad to be free of what we thought was the impending onslaught of murder hornets.

The giant Sierra dust storm could be bigger. I remember reading about this phenomenon and had scenes from the film “The Mummy” popping up in my mind. I was both nervous yet excited to experience something like this. I couldn’t believe it was going to blot out the sun. I was correct to believe that. Upon further research, I also learned this happens every year, this just happened to be bigger than normal. I think we got a cool sunset or two out of it though.

I’m going to get real for a second. COVID could have been worse. I know that lots of people are sick and dying — I’m not saying it isn’t bad. I”m saying it could have been worse. Early last spring our TVs were filled with the impending doom. We knew something was coming, but like the previous two examples, we didn’t know how bad it was going to be.

I looked into the Spanish flu. Said it took about two years to run its course, so I became prepared for this new normal to last a while. I saw black and white photos of hospitals so crowded that people had to have their beds outside. I was mentally ready for tent cities to pop up to care for those who got sick. I know in other parts of the world, they were overcrowded. I’m thankful that Albert Lea never had to build a tent hospital or rent out a space in the mall for the overabundance of sick people. Once again, I feel the need to tap on some wood.

A lot of bad things happened this year; however, I could argue that a lot of bad things happen every year. If I’m being honest, 2020 might have been one of the hardest years of our life, yet it was also one of the best. We have grown so much. The uncomfortable pressure that has been placed on all of us this year has turned so many of us into resilient diamonds. Think about how much you’ve learned this year! How much you were forced to change, adapt and see the world in a different way. Think of all the things you appreciate so much more now. I would argue that makes 2020 pretty cool.

The friends who are walking into 2021 with me are some of the best I’ve EVER had. My vision for my family is crystal clear. This year forced me to slow down and really think about my flaws and my future. Lots of tears, lots of frustration, and I’m sure there’s even more to come. But I welcome the next year, whatever it may bring. Good or bad, I feel at peace with it. “The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.” — Psalm 93:4

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.