Goodbye 2020 - Hello 2021!


I think most of us are glad to turn the page of the calendar. 2020 was probably the worst year on record for many of us. Our lives were turned upside down. The “new normal” changed our lives in so many ways. We used to think that worldwide pandemics were something that happened in a different era; certainly not in our lifetimes. And yet, it did happen. Amidst everything else in our lives, we were forced to face the fact that our time on earth is fleeting, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow, no matter what we might have heard or want to believe.

Who would have thought that we couldn’t go to church on Easter Sunday or that parishes would remain closed for the better part of a year, or that we’d have to make reservations to go to church? God, where are you? We need you now, more than ever!

2020 started out as usual. For me, I had made the decision that after January 1, 2020, I was going to get my house ready for sale. After seven blessed years in my home, I just couldn’t sustain it anymore. It was amazing I lasted this long there. But it clearly seemed that God was closing this door, this chapter of my life, and preparing me to walk through a new door. 

In January, I began to take all the photographs off the walls and put away all the items that gave my home its character. Then COVID-19 took over our lives and within one week in March, life as we know it changed.

I was out of work for four months, which it turned out was a blessing in disguise, because it gave me time to work on my house. This was no easy task for me, and I struggled through packing, cleaning and painting. I held the paintbrush in my arthritic hands and kept going until it was all done.

Having been under quarantine, and with all our usual activities curtailed, I’ve had time to ponder a lot of things. For some people, toilet paper was of utmost importance, as we could see by the shortages in the stores!

Anyway, from my perspective, I learned that God is with us no matter our circumstances. I was thinking about a great book I had read just a few months earlier called “He Leadeth Me” by Walter Ciszek. It was given to me by a deacon friend after I had mentioned to him that I was looking into my genealogy and learning more about my grandparents. They were from a town called Iwje, which used to be part of Poland but was claimed by Russia while they lived there. I began to understand more about the history of that area and I also began to understand what life must have been like for my grandparents, who emigrated to the US in the early 1900s.

Walter Ciszek was an American born priest of Polish descent who wanted to go to Russia to serve the Lord. He was captured by the Russians and imprisoned in Siberia for fifteen years. Everybody back home thought he was dead. He had to keep his priestly identity a secret, or they would have killed him. Just imagine not being free to worship God. Just imagine not being surrounded by the things we take for granted. The crucifix on our walls or on the chains around our necks. The Rosary beads that we take for granted. Fr. Ciszek had none of these items. It was just him, with God residing in his heart and in his mind…

Fast forward to 2020. The months went on and there I was, surrounded by empty walls and eventually, even my furniture went into storage. I became acutely aware that no matter what the circumstances, God resides inside of me. Nothing can take that away from me. At least I still had my grandmother’s Rosary in hand…


Looking back at photographs taken of the previous year, I am reminded that every picture tells a story. Many of you know that photography is my hobby. As I look back at the visual reminders of my life, I’m filled with feelings of both joys and sorrows. I may not always be able to remember, but at least memories are preserved for me. Because, every picture tells a story. And this is the story of my life and my journey of faith.