We’re now just over a month into the year 2021. And for a lot of us, the start of the new year had us hoping things would be much different—especially after all that 2020 brought us. We were convinced that turning the page of the calendar might just mean we could finally have some more positive news or there might be more personal and collective things to bring about joy.
And yet… 2021 hasn’t exactly gotten off to a roaring start. There was political upheaval at the United States Capitol Building not even one week into the new year. Covid-19 concerns have not disappeared just because we’ve entered a new year. Some are frustrated with the vaccination process while others worry about vulnerable family members. Racial injustice remains just as serious of a national issue as it was just a few months ago. And these freezing cold temperatures outside don’t really help anything either.
Many of us have gone from great expectations for 2021 to quickly lowering the bar. We’re discouraged that maybe not so much has changed as quickly as we would’ve hoped. Five weeks in, and we’re already disappointed that this might not be the best year after all.
And to that, I might say: it’s okay if it’s not. It’s okay if this year is just okay.
Each of us managed to find our way through the tangled mess of 2020 with some great mix of emotions and experiences. For the most part, it wasn’t pretty or great. But with present faith and future hopes and the support of one another, it was okay.
One of the things I love most about the creation story in the beginning of Genesis is God’s refrain at the end of each day. For six days, God works away forming everything out of nothing. God creates palm trees, sea otters, and pomegranates, cumulonimbus clouds and vast oceans. And at the end of each day, God looks back on what was created and calls it—good.
I’m no linguistic expert, but it seems to me a little funny that, of all the words available to the Creator of the universe to describe the work that’s just been completed, God simply calls it… good. Not amazing. Not the best ever. Or incredible. Or mind-blowing. Just… good. And judging by how beautiful our creation is around us, good seems to be good enough.
The only time a different phrase is used in this story? When, on the sixth day, God describes humans as very good. Maybe because we’ve been given the capacity to take what’s in front of us and make the most of it. Good, bad, or in between.
There’s no telling what the rest of this year may bring for any of us. My hope is that it would be filled with goodness. No, the next 11 months or so may not be amazing or fabulous. But with equal parts faith and hope, we might take whatever comes our way and choose to find the good in it. After all, in the words of God, good seems to be just good enough.