2020 has been – at best – a year that no one expected. I remember vividly cheering in a happy new year with my friends on New Year’s Eve, excited about a new decade: a new opportunity to learn, grow and hopefully travel the world. Well, the latter did not come to pass, but learning and growing was impossible to miss in 2020!
Originally from Germany, it has been difficult to spend most of this year in London where I am based, and not be able to see my parents and sister who are in Frankfurt and Ivory Coast. We, as many others, resorted to video calls and Friday night quizzes to pass the time and be a little creative in the fight against boredom and loneliness.
Throughout this year, I have noticed how God has pushed me into intimate moments with him. Moments when I have felt hopeless and lonely, rejected and anxious, I have found solace and peace in the silence when I sit in prayer with him. Where before I would sometimes find prayer a chore and not feel like it was ‘doing anything’, daily conversation with my heavenly father who loves me so much has now become a refuge.
In the times where news headlines create panic attacks and no one wants to hear about numbers and lockdowns anymore, I have been on a personal journey: rediscovering my faith and deepening my understanding of the Bible and why I believe what I do. I started asking important questions about the church, its history and how we got where we are in this particularly heated cultural moment. When Black Lives Matter reignited a wave of righteous anger across the world, I stood with my black brothers and sisters and, for the first time in a long time, felt hope in regard to tackling racism.
As a mixed-race person, this year has unveiled lies but also truths that needed to be addressed for me personally. Learning more about my personal history but also the community around me has been incredible. This year has brought up so much pain and a loss of time and opportunities with loved ones for so many people. But, on the other side, it has revealed that our human nature is still so very flawed. We are all looking for community, craving love, and yearning to be with the ones who love us. It has shown that we are actually all way more similar than different – a virus does not care who you are and what you look like.
It gives me hope to see how the world has come together to tackle this. I feel excited for what is to come but also am allowing myself to grieve for what was lost.
Felicitas is a half-German, half-Ivorian professional based in London and was interviewed this year as one of the featured interviews in Preach magazine. Preach is produced by the Leaders of Worship and Preachers Trust.