Thursday 31 December 2020

Closing the chapter on 2020

An unpredicted year

The year 2020 will be etched in memory for many reasons, but we must start with a sense of gratitude in the midst of circumstances and people in charge who were anything but. It began with a great sense of hope and expectations, none dashed, just delayed for more advantageous times.

As I was returning from South Africa, I was supposed to resume a contractual engagement, just before I boarded my flight, I received an email that it had fallen through. It left me no time to reschedule and delay my return, the wintry cold of Manchester beckoned.

As I was inadvertently thrown onto the job market, within two weeks of my return, I was down with a water infection that landed me in hospital, with some observation the prognosis was better than initially feared, I was discharged and treated as an out-patient but the time to full recovery took about a month.

The cloud that shadowed

This was as the threatening Coronavirus was looming in the horizon, ignored by heads of populist governments whose penchant for wishing away big problems with simplistic but unrealistic solutions were met with a reality that did not subscribe to the gullible bullshit that got them into power. When the UK government eventually acted, it was the only option they had and what a disaster it has been since then.

By the end of April, a job opportunity came up with the engagement process so different from usual, the context and concept of the workplace had so radically changed, and it transpired that an interview conducted by answering scripts was aborted for an on-boarding process and within days I was in work from May.

The pandemic had taken hold, the lean months presenting challenges that were assuaged by team meditation exercises that lasted 21 days beyond which faith and resolution brought calm as things swirled around with no inkling as to what will become the immediate talk less of the distant future.

Hope is a spirit

Each day, Brian and I conversed in the hope that soon we would be able to meet up, but the pandemic stood as an impediment, no progress could be made on that matter as lockdowns and tiers tested the resolve of the citizenry even as it exposed corruption, ineptitude and incompetence in many countries with the UK carrying the worst news of the whole of Europe until Italy recently overtook in the death toll.

Desire and longing not dimmed, the opportunity came, and it was seized, to end the year in the company of love and beauty could not have been a better wish fulfilled. We need to find ways to negotiate living with this pandemic, taking all care and precaution to keep safe. It has cast a dark gloom over our humanity and much as vaccines will help, it must not be sold as a panacea. It is one of the tools we need as we understand better how to contain and overcome this virus.

Pained and sorrowed

With 72,548 dead from CoVID-19 in the UK and another 28,033 dead in South Africa, there has been great grief and sorrow in the land for which especially in the UK I cannot find any reason not to hold Boris Johnson’s government for the carnage, it has been so fortuitous to have had such an unconscionable kakistocracy in Downing Street when demands of probity, capacity, and ability were needed to tackle a pandemic. If there is any justice in this world, for the lives, needlessly lost through the mishandling of this pandemic the people in this government would be held fully accountable.

Closer to home though not due to the virus, in October, I lost my stepmother so suddenly, just 4 days after her 56th birthday, even as I have issues with my father on this matter, my priority is the comfort and security of my brothers. There is much to do. Another two weeks after, my father lost his best friend from childhood. We were visited by mortality so close and venerations with remembrances to be done.

Arise to the new

In all, we learnt that communication was critical, contact was important, concern was human, and consideration was empathetic. Friends mattered, neighbours succoured, dreams lived large, hopes never die, faith sets you on the course to things you cannot see, a long pause presages a new beginning, the year 2020 was the year of reset. I am not aware of any prescience that foresaw this passing year, but it will pass into history for better stories to be told.

Entering 2021 will have its difficulties but human ingenuity is such that when presented with great adversity there is resourcefulness and innovation to bring healing, progress, and prosperity to renew, replenish, restore and rebuild what was lost. We are grateful for life through the year past and look forward to new awakenings. Have a wonderful and Happy New Year!

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