On January 1, we rang in a New Year. We said goodbye to the “teens” and looked forward to our own version of the “Roaring 20s.” Little did we know what would be ahead.

If we held a contest and for the “worst year ever,” 2020 would be the hands-down winner.

Each of us has a story

The wildfires which consumed over 27 million acres hit close to home for me and my wife. Two summers before, a speaking engagement took us to Australia for the first time. We took the opportunity to make it a once-in-a-lifetime working vacation.

The highlight was a stay on Kangaroo Island in the acclaimed Southern Ocean Lodge. It was an experience that reminded me of the old “Fantasy Island” television show. This famous establishment, and much of Kangaroo Island and its wildlife, fell victim to the fire.

Inside Southern Ocean Lodge

Many thought that fires would be the top “bad news” story of 2020. Oh, how wrong we were. We each have our stories of trips canceled, opportunities lost, jobs in jeopardy, health scares, people we know coming down with this virus, and an overall feeling of uncertainty.

Our own 2020 dark cloud culminated in the unexpected loss of a beloved pet on Memorial Day.

Sheltie Rescue

Half gone, 2020 has been one of emptiness. But what about the half that is ahead?

Welcoming Brandy

When we lose a dog, the answer for the two of us has always been to give another dog a home. And so, we adopted a 13-month old Sheltie named “Brandy.” She’s adapting well to life as an inside dog, being the center of attention, and learning the normal dog tricks.

For us, Brandy’s arrival is a sign there may be hope for 2020 after all. She’s a beautiful girl, smart, and gets up every day as if there’s something great ahead. The search for the right pet looks like it was a home run.

Brandy and her tennis ball

A chance for half-full?

We’ve all dealt with new situations and have shown we’re people who can adapt. We’re hopeful the arrival of a new pet will be the start of a trend for the rest of the year.

What about you? What’s the bright spot, the signal that good days are ahead?

“Taps” or “Reveille?”

In 1965, Sir Winston Churchill died. He knew the time was coming and so he planned his own funeral down to the last detail. The ceremony was held in St. Paul’s Cathedral with all the pomp and majesty befitting a world leader.

At the end of the service, as the casket was being carried down the aisle, Churchill had asked that a bugler would be positioned on one side of the dome high in St. Paul’s Cathedral. As the procession made its way down the aisle, the bugler was to play “Taps.”

As the final notes finished echoing through the cathedral, something else happened. Churchill asked that another bugler, positioned on the other side of the great dome, would begin to play “Reveille.” It’s that universal tune that signals it’s time to get up; it’s time to get going.

We’re halfway through 2020, and many of us are ready to blow “Taps” over the whole thing. With an entire half of 2020 still in front of us, we have roughly 180 more sunrises. We have around 180 more chances to sound “Reveille.” We have around 180 more chances to take the day given us and make it count. Let’s get going.