Commentary: Lasting lesson of 2020: Compassion saves us all

Judy Bluhm

Judy Bluhm

Ah, 2021 is feeling like a breath of fresh air. So many of us are delighted to move on, yet this past year has probably made us stronger. Maybe even taught us lessons.

We have had time to think, ponder and reflect.

Our priorities might have shifted. We see what is really important in our lives. And bask in gratitude for what we have. In 2020 we had to deal with all manner of troubles. At times, it was a challenge to stay positive.

We shared the experience of loss. My friend died of Covid-19. One of my favorite restaurants has closed. My beautiful horse passed away. Two vacations were canceled. My neighbor’s mother has been languishing alone in a nursing home. My grand-girls miss school.

It has been a rough year and we lost too much. We needed inner strength to simply keep going, adapting to new realities and constraints. Yet, collectively, we bravely face each day with hope. We are resilient.

It is not tragedy that defines us, but the compassion, courage and persistence of those who help. Humanity on full display is really an unstoppable force.

It is that combined human factor of courageous efforts, selfless actions and faith that carry us through. Headlines scream out, while humanity quietly whispers that we are there to help.

The wrecking ball that was 2020 may have cut a swath of destruction, but we keep holding each other up, with never-ending persistence. We strive in our finer moments, to honor the fallen, to become the person who shows compassion, to keep the faith that no matter what we must endure, we do it better together.

One of the cows in the pasture across from me at my ranchette, lost her baby at birth. Distraught, she would stand mooing in a sorrowful call that echoed across the valley at night. She could not be consoled by the other cows.

My horses would stare at her across the fence and other cows would try to comfort to her, but she screeched and carried on non-stop. Then one of the other mama cows that had twin calves brought one of her newborns close to the desperate cow. And with one small act of kindness, a new bond was formed, a new beginning forged, and peace was restored.

It is those simple acts of love that bolster our spirits, keep us grounded in a whirlwind of troubles and inspire us to give more ... and be more.

The raven who was found caring for a stray kitten and protecting it from harm, the horse that leads his blind stall-mate through the field, the doggy that will comfort his owner when she is sad, are all reasons to believe in the power of caring.

It exists in the animal kingdom and it is the hallmark of humanity. As one philosopher said, loss is a universal condition, the thread that connects each one of us ... but compassion is what saves us all.

May your week be filled with kindness. And believe in the promise of good things ahead. Yes, 2020 is in the rearview mirror.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at

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