Londa Green Newball*
On December 31st, 2019 Jason and myself attended an Agape feast at the Kingston Seventh Day Adventist Church to end the year in fellowship with our church family. This was the last event we attended in 2019. We were excited to receive the year 2020, after a delightful ending of 2019, with a lovefeast celebration and the traditional falling of the ball at Times Square New York City. Also, I was excited to call, text and post on social media the New Year’s best wishes to family and friends.
The year 2020 represents the beginning of a new decade and a special year because it represents a twin year with the same double digits. We were all looking forward to a fresh new and successful year with new goals. Unfortunately, 2020 started with a rough beginning due to the world pandemic of the corona virus, known as Covid-19. The situation in the United States got worse during mid-March. The country went into a state of shock and lockdown. Corporations, schools, universities, churches, offices, and many other sectors of the nation were mandated to operate from their homes, to avoid the spread of covid-19. The cry of the nation was devastating. People getting ill, dying from the pandemic, and others losing their jobs. The economy was in a state of recession and the population was on standstill and in a state of uncertainty of what the future holds.
The stock market crashed and the file for unemployment skyrocketed in the millions. The environment was and is still tense. It felt like God was silent, but he was not; He was surely listening to the many crying prayers. For sure, the year 2020 represents a new wave of segregation due to social distancing and the banning of large gathering. I truly believe that this entire situation has made us human beings more robotics and dependable on technology. Sadly, it leads to more control and deprivation of our liberty.
The year 2020 has shown her face and power to the world. The world has and is still crying for the hurts that this new decade has installed on us. As a believer in God as a spiritual being, I know that this pandemic represents one of the signs of the end and it is just the beginning of the end. Therefore, I have chosen to live by faith and not by fear. I have learned to trust God holistically and rely that he is in control of everything. I strongly believe that this pandemic has shaken the world to its cores, just as a friendly reminder that God was, is, and always will be in control of our lives.
I name my writing, The Cry and Smile of 2020, with the purpose of making a tie of the global pandemic situation and my personal life. I can testify that I served an awesome God, and that in the midst of a storm, there can still be a smile. My personal story of 2020 has so far put a smile on my brown face. I just want to share a short synopsis of my story.
Toward the end of January 2020, I started my last semester of my graduate program at SUNY New Paltz. The first two months my classes were on campus, but with the outbreak of the corona virus my classes went online for the rest of the Spring semester, 2020. It was not an easy change, but I learned to adopt quickly. Definitely, the transition from classes on campus to online learning was a completely different dynamic. I kept my strong believe in one of my favorite Bible verses: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. (Philippians 4:13). By the grace of God, and with my discipline, I wrapped up my semester in May. I had reached a milestone and it felt like a burden had fallen off my back.
I smiled, cried, and leaped with joy when I handed in my last paper on May 14th. I graduated with a master’s degree in professional studies Humanistic Multicultural Education. My virtual commencement ceremony was on May 22, 2020. This was the first virtual ceremony conducted by SUNY New Paltz. Therefore, the President of SUNY New Paltz, Donald P. Christian, stated in his commencement speech, that we will always be remembered as the graduates of the corona virus. In my opinion, each 2020 graduate’s name has become a historical commodity of our Alma mater. Our warrior spirit will prevail forever.
Another part of my 2020 story is the fact that during mid-March the schools were closed due to the pandemic. All school districts adopted the distance learning model from home. As a substitute teacher, I did not have a job for the rest of the school year. Therefore, I began to feel an anxiety as to where I’m going to obtain funding to pay my expenses. The economy was in a lockdown state and there were no available jobs. I prayed, and I immediately proceeded to apply for unemployment. My unemployment insurance was approved, and I began to claim my weekly benefits. With the funding provided, I was able to pay my monthly expenses and even have the opportunity to save some money. By God providing for me in times of needs, I can testify that we serve a powerful and almighty Provider who cares and loves us.
The blessings of God were still putting a smile on my face in the midst of a pandemic. On July 4th, 2020, I got engaged with my wonderful fiancé Jason Wyant, in a hot air balloon over the Canandaigua Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It will be one of the most memorable moments of my life. I can testify that Jehovah is a God of love and he brought two loving hearts together in the midst of a storm. I will share more details of my engagement weekend in my next writing. In the same manner, on October 7th I received a mail from the NY Department of Education containing my Professional Certification Certificate. I had an initial certification prior to acquiring my professional certification.
In conclusion, my suggestion is to keep your positive attitude and trust in God. He will deliver you from whatever situation you may find yourself in. What He has done for me He can also do for you. I can say that life was not all perfect for me, I, too, cried and felt the pain of the pandemic and the fast-dynamic changes in our social and economic environment. But, I have learned to overcome it and remind myself that there is light and hope in the midst of a storm. We can stop our tears and still put a smile on the faces God has given us.
To be continue….