Hindsight is 20/20
“Hindsight is 20/20,” a phrase used to describe the fact that it is easy for one to be knowledgeable about an event after it has happened. I hope this is true when we look back at the year 2020!
It has been a year of loss! Millions of lives lost, economic loses, changes all around, a new way of living, and lots of paradigm shifts for every human on the planet. The Coronavirus was not at all the sole culprit of the losses we have experienced. Natural causes and other events such as fires and tornados have added to the challenges we are facing. And, just like that, everything that can be shaken has been shaken so that what cannot be shaken may remain! (Hebrews 12:25-27) Governments, kingdoms, school districts, the economy, our very lives and their stability have all taken a tumble. The “pause” God allowed in human history made us stop in our tracks and re-examine what and who we believe.
The Gift of Resiliency
For me, it all started in Central America before the airports, and the world shut down. I was visiting schools with Edify, a nonprofit organization that supports education through trainings, education technology, and offering school owners access to lending capital so they can improve and expand their infrastructure. I had just landed in Guatemala City, and things were already looking chaotic. The week started with a buzz of unsettling news, and tourists were wondering if they were going to be able to travel back to where they had come from.
I was visiting the schools and having conversations with proprietors and directors. They were leaders with no Masters or Doctorate degrees who had, in many cases, sold food in the streets in order to have enough money to pay their teachers’ salaries. Others were school leaders who were carrying on the legacy of their parents who had started their school in a garage. Still, others were school owners who were facing extortion by gangs with no real police protection. These were men and women whose hearts bled love and compassion for the underserved! As I listened to their stories, I did my best to keep it together and take it all in without showing the overwhelming emotion my heart was feeling. I grew up in South America for goodness sake! I had seen the poorest of the poor. I had mingled with kids in the streets of Ecuador who had to beg for food. I had seen poverty, and now my eyes had finally been opened to the reality it brings. God had turned my heart of stone into a heart of flesh, and I could see what things really look like in places where we don’t care to go. Being comfortable makes us unaware, and I was now up to my knees with the knowledge of how difficult life can be for those who are not born into the comforts I had enjoyed my entire life.
I’m a seasoned teacher who became an instructional leader in one of the biggest districts in the United States. In all my years of experience in the education field, I had never seen the organization, resilience, and determination of school leaders like the ones who partner with Edify. There were humble facilities in risky neighborhoods, the classrooms small and crowded, professional development for teachers is often given in an outside space under a tent to prevent sunburns. How do leaders thrive despite these unbelievable set of circumstances? How do they love and manage the daily happenings of school life and live on faith that the parents will have the money to pay monthly tuition? Edify trains school leaders and teachers at no cost to them. However, schools pay back the loans that they offer, and parents must pay to send their kids to school. The logical explanation is very simple. When you pay, you add value to what you are getting! Giving things for free only contributes to the poverty cycle, but helping people make a living through the value that education offers is priceless.
Upon my return, when the world was already upside down with Covid-19, I began to reflect on all I had seen in Guatemala and how I was going to respond to the pause God had allowed in my life. One of the very first and insignificant changes I decided to make was to stop going to the nail salon. Since I couldn’t go with quarantine closures, it was an easy start. I also wanted to have a visible sign of the changes this year brought. I wanted a reminder! I knew I could eliminate some of the luxuries I had enjoyed most of my adult life, but the issues of my heart were the ones I would have to really wrestle with during, and after, the pandemic. So, I asked for God to “breathe His wisdom on me” so I could understand Him. (J.I. Packer)
I often say, “No one wants to die.” What I mean by that is that no one wants to be last in line, be uninvited, left behind, forgotten, ignored, not picked, passed over, no one wants to be inconvenienced by serving when comfortable sounds much better. The truth is that in God’s economy, the last will be first, those who know God is our only hope get the Kingdom of God, those who mourn get comforted, those who are meek inherit the earth, those who show mercy will get mercy, those who have a pure heart will see God and those who seek peace will be called sons of God. The way we get to go up in the Kingdom of God is by always going down first. It’s a hard truth to learn when taking care of self is our priority, and for years it was mine.
I don’t quite know what God is doing to give us 20/20 vision about the year 2020. What I do know is that He is going to restore, rebuild, and create new out of loss, pain, and suffering. Yes, the ground where we have placed our footing is shaking because God wants to be the sure foundation that can’t and won’t be moved!