Musings for the end of 2020, the year of the Coronavirus pandemic:

Our memories of this moment are going to be muddled and confused says Jennifer Talarico, a psychology professor at Lafayette College who studies how people remember their lives, and how public events affect that. We’re going to be left with this vague notion that’s going to be hard to articulate, hard to describe, hard to capture for those folks who haven’t been through it.Ted Anthony

And yet, your job and mine, as memoirists, is to push through the confusion and murkiness and, instead, to articulate, describe, and capture what has happened this year

We serve as “a hand pointing in the direction of the past.” (C. H. Spurgeon)

But here at SM 101, we do more than that. We do more than tell stories from the past.

Here we dig deep within those stories to discover what God has done for us—stories about His constant companionship and provision each day.

The beauty of memoir is looking back, examining, and discovering significance we might have missed at the time

At the end of 2020, let’s reflect on the past twelve months because:

We and people around the world have been tossed about, spun around, and upended by Covid-19 and its ripple effects. The pandemic this year has been unique for everyone—except for those few people still alive who also lived during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. But for most of us, a pandemic like this happens only once in a lifetime. As a nation, we’ve also experienced racial unrest, political turmoil, economic tragedies, and social isolation, to name only a few. (See last week’s post, Covid-19 and those “Beneath life’s crushing loadOn top of that, most of us have experienced personal struggles and heartbreaks.

This past year has numbed us and bewildered us, and not enough time has passed for us to accurately assess everything that’s happenedNevertheless, we need to get some of our thoughts and experiences in writing even now. We can go back and revise later.

Jennifer Talarico’s words (above) comfort me. They tell me I’m not the only one struggling to find words and discern what, specifically, was going on in various levels of life—my life, my extended family’s life, my fellow citizens’ lives, and of those around the world.

Even in a “normal” year, too often we don’t take time to recognize that, in the words of dear old Samuel, “The Lord has helped us every step of the way” (1 Samuel 7:12, NIRV).

Back in the 1800s, C. H. Spurgeon pondered that same verse in The King James Version: “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us

He wrote:

“The word ‘hitherto’ seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the pastTwenty years or seventy, and yet ‘hitherto hath the Lord helped us!’”

Or, in today’s language, “Whether we’re twenty years old or seventy, ‘the Lord has helped us every step of the way

Spurgeon continues,

“Through poverty,

through wealth,

through sickness,

through health;

at home,


on the land,

on the sea;

in honor,

in dishonor,

in perplexity,

in joy,

in trial,

in triumph,

in prayer,

in temptation,

—‘hitherto hath the Lord helped!’”

If we invest time in looking over Spurgeon’s list in light of our own past twelve months, we’ll see that every day, in each event, even in the worst of times, God has always hovered in our midst, has always loved us, and has sent us encouragement and help in practical ways

This is a busy time of year but for now, jot down a list, make a few notes, and promise yourselfand your family, and Godyou’ll write those stories in 2021!

Each child, grandchild, great-grandchild—niece, nephew, and “spiritual” child—needs to know your stories. They can serve as a guide to show future generations how to manage their own surprises and emergenciesWhen your readers see what God did for you, they’ll be more likely to trust Him in their own circumstances.

Each story can be a celebration of what God has done

Always remember, and never forget,

what you’ve seen God do for you,

and be sure to tell your children and grandchildren!

(Deuteronomy 4:9)

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