The year 2020 is shaping up to be one we will remember for a very long time (if we survive it). First of all, there was the pandemic of the coronavirus and the shutdown and economic crisis from that. About a month ago or so, we began seeing demonstrations against the regulations that the government has put on to deal with the pandemic. This includes armed protestors entering statehouses, and here in Kentucky, Second Amendment protestors hanging the governor in effigy. We have seen huge upheavals, demonstrations and riots after the killing of a number of black men and women in the past few weeks.
It has been a long time since things have seemed so fragile and unsettled. And we are not even half way through 2020. Who knows what we have to look forward to? But this is not the first time that we have gone through difficult and uncertain times.
I am old enough to remember the 1960s and the early 1970s. When I was in 4th grade, I remember the Cuban missile crisis. We kids knew something very serious was going on but were not completely clear what it was. I recall being on the playground, talking to my friends, hearing of nuclear missiles and the end of the world. We were scared.
There was a PTA meeting that I attended with my mom, with a speaker presenting the need for all of us to have a nuclear fallout shelter in our back yards to try to survive an attack with atomic bombs.
The assassination of President Kennedy happened a year later, and the Vietnam War was just ramping up and would darken the rest of the decade. The Civil Rights movement would move into violent stages, and we saw our nation’s greatest cities go up in flames. Violent protests over the war would emerge as well. 1968 would be the high point of the violence and turmoil. First was the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy, and the Democratic Convention in Chicago. The war in Vietnam would go on for six more years, and in 1974, President Nixon would be the first president of the United States to resign from office because of the Watergate scandal.
Older generations would remember World Wars I and II, the Spanish influenza, and the Great Depression. Going further back in time, there were more wars and conflicts.
There always have been and always will be difficult times. One of my favorite quotes is from John Lennon, who in one of his songs sang, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.” Sadly, the album on which he sang that lyric came out just weeks before he was murdered. How prophetic those words were.
None of us planned for 2020 to be the year it has shaped up to be so far. Together, and with God’s grace and blessings, we face what must be faced, and we seek to become better people from the struggles we encounter.
–Fr. Mike Comer