Dear 2021: A Letter About Where I've Been

Wading in Big Shoes - A Letter to 2021

Dear 2021,

Why, hello, there. It appears as though I am late to the party, but I hope you’ll excuse me as I have been hiding from you.

The previous ten months or so haven’t been my favorite. I’d ask you to consider this my official “letter of complaint,” but that wouldn’t be fair as I’m pretty sure no one else has been having an ideal time as of late, either. That’s something I remind myself of every day. And I know in the grand scheme of things, I have been fortunate. But if we remove that dangerous villain we call “comparison” from the mix, I might have just enough strength to be honest.

I’m struggling.

I could blame the icy air of January and the seasonal cloud cover we’ll live under for far too long, but truth be told, winter is probably the most reliable thing happening in this whole confusing mess of a year right now. She showed up when she was supposed to, enveloped us in snow, and reminded us to pull out our mittens and knit hats. I can pretend all day long that the oregano and rosemary I left untended last summer will bounce back at any moment, but that fine layer of cold crystals that dusts the top of each cracked pot reminds me: we’ve moved on.

Ready or not.

When I was 16 or 17, a friend pointed out that my mood always matched whatever the weather was up to that day. Most people wouldn’t consider this a big deal—it is, of course, easier to be happy when the sun is shining. But I secretly held onto that remark like it was a badge of honor. If I could pretend that the world cried with me when it rained, I could feel a little less alone and just maybe, convey that beautiful sadness to others without saying a word.

Naturally, I grew up. Reality rendered me jaded. And I tossed aside imaginary tales about seeing things for what they weren’t. I became boring.

And then, this year. This. Year.

Wading in Big Shoes - A Letter to 2021 
This year shook me around until confetti flew out of my ears and then wrung me tight like a wet dish cloth. I took a step back. I watched. I listened. I felt. I cried.

I re-learned the power of empathy in a way so overwhelming, I’m still trying to sweep the crumbs together. I learned disappointment even harder. I sat inside heartache and wrestled with fear and escaped through bittersweet appreciation. I stretched out the good moments as long as I could and pulled a pillow over my head to block out the rest. I wore baseball caps again.

Like everyone else, I grew weary. I wanted to fight, but could rarely find the words. I found the Lord’s peace flow through my exhale whenever I attempted to speak truth. I sobbed in isolation when others unknowingly tore my heart to shreds. I wondered time and time again how I could be better.

I’ll be the first to throw my hand in the air and admit that I’ve got a lot of work to do when it comes to growing in faith. But goodness, am I grateful for that rock. It’s always there.

2021, I don’t know what’s ahead, but I am hopeful. I’ve learned through unhappiness that my happiness isn’t rooted in the here and now . . . it can’t be. I’ve also learned that I’ve gotta wake up because this little capsule of life we’ve been given is so very precious, and I’ve wasted a lot of it thinking about Yours Truly.

I know there are others who feel this way, too. Even if they don’t send their regards, please know that they’re in the same boat.

Help me to remember that, too.


Thanks for lending an ear. All my best,

Jennifer