The Little Things: Trying to see good in 2020


By Kelly Preston, Special to The Paper

A couple of months ago, I looked out our kitchen window while doing my tenth round of dishes…before noon, mind you…and in our backyard I spotted a single purple zinnia standing out amidst hundreds of yellow flowers.  I immediately stopped doing dishes, went outside, and clipped a few of the yellow flowers along with the distinct and different purple one to bring inside as a reminder of 2020.

But why would I want to remember 2020?

2020 was bizarre…tumultuous…crazy…anything-but-normal…different.

If there’s a list of the “Top Ten Words to Describe 2020,” different has to be on the list.

Different can be defined as “partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality; dissimilar” OR “not the same” OR “unusual, special.”

2020 was most definitely different—dissimilar, unusual, not the same—in many ways.

But is different always a bad thing?  I would say most definitely NOT!

Some of the things that made 2020 so different were actually very good things.  Here are just a few that come to my mind…

People spent more time outside.  We live in downtown Newnan and saw more people than ever out walking, riding bikes (bike sales were out the roof!), and porch sitting.  Research has shown several health benefits to being outside, and during a pandemic, fresh air was…and continues to be…good for our bodies and minds.

Creativity was sparked.  Businesses, churches, schools, organizations, families…everyone was forced to do things in ways we’ve never done them before.  Zoom became a household word and it helped make social distancing feel less harsh.  I vividly recall laughing hysterically while on a Zoom call with cousins that I haven’t seen in person in years because we all live in different states…but for that one hour on computer screens, it felt like we were all in the same room sharing childhood memories.

But don’t take my word for it.  Take Christson Adedoyin’s word for it. “I have seen adaptability, creativity and ingenuity emerge from COVID-19 and social distancing…even in the midst of a global pandemic, people are collectively working to solve problems.”

The social work professor from Samford University (my alma mater, go Bulldogs!) goes on to say, “This is one time in a long while that we are seeing people from all parts of the world working together to find a solution to a common enemy or problem.  Even though we are socially distant, we are emotionally and spiritually connected.”  These are good things.

And speaking of being connected, the power of physical touch was not taken for granted.  I will never forget the moment we let our teenage daughter see her BFF after the strict quarantine guidelines were past us.  I cried happy tears as they embraced and shed tears themselves.  It was a moment of pure joy and displayed the truth that God created us to be in community with one another.  2020 has clearly shown us that human connection and touch are indeed good things.

Yes, we can all agree that 2020 was different in many ways, but hopefully we can also see the good it brought.  I challenge you to ponder how 2020 was different…but good…for you.

And as 2021 begins, hopefully we can embrace the little things with a renewed sense of understanding that different isn’t always bad…it can actually be really good!

Happy New Year!


Kelly Preston is a nurse-turned-stay-at-home-mom to four amazing and energetic children. Though she sometimes forgets to buy toilet paper amidst their busy schedules, Kelly finds time to run RACE for the Orphans, a non-profit focused on supporting adoptive families. She loves Jesus, people, a really good book, and pondering the little things.

Leave a reply