Man it is storming outside; a fitting way to wrap up this year of 2020. Yes, like most of you I'm ready to see 2020 go but I think it's possible to find the good even among the bad. 2020 started with much joy in these parts; our beloved LSU Tigers put the finishing touches on a perfect football season and were crowned the National Champions. 15-0 and a solid win against Clemson to claim the crown. For this long-time Tiger fan I can honestly say this was the best football squad LSU put together in many a decade. We would not have the same experience with our New Orleans Saints; another fantastic season would once again experience post-season disappointment. These were the things we focused on back in January; we had yet to be introduced to Covid19. We followed all the drama of a politically motivated Presidential impeachment and the election cycle began but soon, all things would be Coronavirus.
I remember the date, it was March 7th; I had the double pleasure of attending a day of retreat and prayer with my Rayburn Correctional Catholic family followed by the big celebration of Brennan's 2nd birthday. It would be the last time I would see the men in quite a long time and my family for awhile. It would be March 13th when we were told Coronavirus was serious and we all needed to lock down. We all obeyed because it was such the unknown and we were all concerned. Wendy and I were exposed early on but did not have the disease. Work changed to drive-up only, churches reverted to video masses/services only, schools closed, games were cancelled; we did not know what to do.
Still, the world can't stop and by May we welcomed our 4th grandchild into the world, Walker Holden James Moroney! It would be days before I saw him and had to do so from the back yard. More new normal. By now we were getting used to wearing masks; even when the bank re-opened we were asking clients to put a mask over their face.
We got real good at live-streaming the Mass then eventually we could open the church to small congregations only, eventually growing to about 75% occupancy. We were busy at the bank doing those PPP loans for small businesses. Sadly, our early summer trips to North Carolina were cancelled.
July brought the Coronavirus smack into our lives; I was diagnosed first, followed by my wife, then our son-in-law and incredibly our 2 month old grandson. We all could do nothing for 14 days but were all thankful that symptoms were mild. We recovered and we tried to get back to normal.
By September the kids slowly returned to a hybrid school model of mostly virtual learning. The sports world woke up, the election season was raging and things seemed normal. But by November our world was shaken when I found myself unemployed, summarily dismissed from a long-time career. I was initially devastated. But multiple silver linings appeared from supportive friends to many who held us up. Then I was able to take an important, albeit part-time assignment working for my church. A true blessing. And we decided that I would pursue disability and/or retirement options through Social Security. Stand by for news on that front. I found myself with time to spend with the local grandkids, to work around the house, to grow ministry opportunities although the prison was still off limits. My aunt, my mom's sister, took ill and has been recovering away from home.
You all know what happened with that darn election, seems like, despite it all, we will be seeing a new President sworn in for 2021. Our favorite football team from LSU did not do well but our Saints are still playing well. Christmas arrived, and while different in many ways, still very much Christmas. And now tonight we await not only the rest of the rain and wind but a whole New Year!
I'm now getting ready to return to the church where we will gather on the vigil of the great feast day of Mary, the Mother of God. Tomorrow, we will gather with my daughters family and enjoy a somewhat traditional New Year's day.
So that's 2020 in a nutshell. Oh there was much more but I know this, we all pray for a blessed and fruitful 2021 where we can eventually be safe from this pandemic and see all the graces and blessings God has in store for us. May all our unanswered questions be answered and may we always keep Jesus first and foremost in our lives.