We’ve sure seen some things this year, haven’t we?

It doesn’t matter who you are or what side of any particular line you may place yourself on, I guarantee 2020 has been a year where you’ve said and done things you never imagined.

A year ago I would have told you social distancing was turning onto the next aisle at Wal-Mart when we saw someone we didn’t want to talk to.

The idea of wearing a mask around town wouldn’t have occurred to me either unless I had plans for getting up to no good or it was Halloween.

Last year, at-home learning meant my kids were with me out in the yard or in the kitchen learning some basic skills, not on the couch with their laptops having science class.

Zoom meant I was in a big hurry, not a way of holding meetings and communicating.

Toilet paper was a household necessity to be picked up as needed, not something to worry about lacking a square to spare.

More than anything, a pandemic was something out of a movie or a bad novel, not something I ever imagined would be impacting my life on a daily basis.

Yet for all of the challenges, we’ve survived and we’ve learned some valuable lessons. We’ve figured out what’s really important in many cases. We’ve adapted to new ways of doing things and found out that less is more.

I know I’ve spent more time with my family this year than ever before. I’ve played more board games, hit more bad shots in Wii Golf and generally spent more hours playing and talking with my kids than usual. That’s been an enormous blessing as I feel I’ve gotten to know these two amazing young men better than ever as we’ve laughed, talked and played this year. For that, I am truly thankful.

I’ve listened to more music, read more books and spent more time talking with my wife each day. With fewer places to go and fewer obligations outside of work and church, I’ve been forced to turn my attention more inward to family and to the things that really matter. It’s sad that it’s taken a pandemic to push me to that place and that frame of mind, but I’m glad I finally got there.

I’ve also watched a community come together throughout this year to help those in need and to pray and support those leading us through this. I’ve gained a new respect for our elected officials and the leaders of our schools, churches, healthcare facilities and other vital institutions. These men and women have been faced daily with decisions they never imagined having to make and have had to constantly learn and reevaluate how the daily routines we take for granted have had to change to deal with the new reality.

It’s been a tough year. My heart breaks for all those who have lost loved ones because of this situation. This Christmas there were a lot of empty seats around family tables and a lot of tears shed for those who are missed so dearly. Each and every one remains in my prayers.

As we say good-bye to 2020, we have a choice. I will choose to begin the new year with hope for better days ahead. Tough times remain, but I will begin each day with a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings we still have and are given each day and I will continue to believe our best days remain ahead of us.

A new year is a new opportunity and each new day is a blessing never to be taken for granted. We can decide now to make 2021 the best year ever. No matter our circumstances, the way respond to the challenges we face is what determines the quality of each day and each year. The future is up to us. Let’s make the most of it.

Banner Independent Editor

Managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, Booneville’s Banner-Independent, Brant Sappington has been a member of the Daily Corinthian family since 2001.

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