Symbols of the season popped up early this year as many of us were eager for the comforting images that come with the holidays. Amidst the appearances of faux snowflakes, sand snowmen (complete with sunglasses), reindeer, and more in emails and advertisements in recent weeks, I was surprised to see a very early arrival: Father Time. I know there are many of us eager to wave goodbye to 2020, but I would like to keep him around a bit longer and invite him to impart all the lessons learned from this year to cherubic Baby New Year of 2021. After all, we’ve learned a lot about who we are and how we want to live, and that is something I do not want to forget.
For example, our friends at Catholic Charities in DeSoto County introduced us to Maria and Mario, the young parents of three children and a baby boy fighting for his life after being born premature. Facing reduced hours at work and long back-and-forth commutes from the hospital, Mario reached out to Catholic Charities – part of the Season of Sharing network – for help with rent and utilities to ensure that when the baby returned, its home would be there to greet him. After many months between Tampa and Miami hospitals, their baby boy had a successful surgery and the family has since been reunited.
Lifechanging stories like Maria and Mario’s can be found all around us. Everyone has their own story to tell about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted them. Those of us who were not deeply affected by previous troubles like hurricanes or other economic downturns cannot claim our lives haven’t been altered during 2020.