It’s 2020 — oh my!


By Judith Costello

At work yesterday, a man brought up items for purchase. He handed me a $20 bill and two dimes. I always tell customers the amount they give me before making change. This time I said, “2020. Hmm. I don’t want to take that … it seems to be jinxed!” It took the man a minute before he got what I was saying and laughed!

20/20. They are the numbers for perfect vision. Yet, one of the readings at church today (Aug. 13, 2020) was from Ezekiel. It says, “They have eyes to see but do not see. They have ears to hear but do not hear. They are a rebellious people.” And it is true. Our world has rebelled against God with gender confusion, taking God out of the public square, aborting babies and selling baby parts…


I remember one time on our little farm in New Mexico. The hot water heater broke on the same day the power went out. We could not use our bathrooms without a pump to bring water for flushing. I was beside myself with anxiety and irritation. My good husband said, “Either God is God or man is god. It can’t be both.” He said we should give God all of our problems and leave the house for an “adventure.”


He had to drag me away because I thought worrying was what I was supposed to do!

But we bundled two kids in the car and made a pit stop at a McDonald’s before going down the rural highway to “see what we could see.” The kids were squirming in the backseat. So, Jurgen pretended to be a radio reporter. “This is WKZA reporting to you live from Route 66. As we move down the highway, what is it you see Reporter 1?” My son said, “Um. Trees.”

“Oh, Reporter 1. Do tell us more! Your radio audience is eagerly listening,” my silly husband said. I handed Peter a small piece of wood I had collected somewhere. It looked a little like a microphone and Peter was encouraged to talk into it. The kids caught on. The game was fun.

“This is Reporter 2,” said Brigit. “I just saw a white and brown animal! I think it’s an antelope running into the pine trees!” We SAW a lot more than we ever would have. And that’s how we spent our day! By the time we got home, the power was back and the plumber was coming soon.

The power went out again here in Iowa on Aug. 10, after a “Derecho Storm” with 86 mph winds in Davenport and over 100 mph elsewhere across the Midwest. It was a scary storm. But all we could do was watch and pray. It came in the midst of pandemic concerns, election concerns and widespread civil unrest. We, here at the house I share with my 95-year-old mom, were without power for 2 1/2 days. Others are still without power. No coffee! No air conditioning.

But, at least for us, we have running water and plumbing! There’s been property damage. There are always things to be grateful for!
What is God saying this time, in our country, when the chaos is so widespread? Jurgen has gone to heaven so he’s not here to cajole me out of worry.

Our country lacks any sense of unity, right now. There doesn’t seem to be agreement on anything. But surely people know we need each other? We are better when we are united. It reminds me of our little family; we were each going our separate ways before we united in the car on an “adventure.”

Prayer is an answer. Gratitude is an answer. God has given us an opportunity to see with new eyes and to hear with new ears.

Are we seeing? Hearing?

(Judith Costello is an artist, writer and member of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.)

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1 thought on “It’s 2020 — oh my!

  1. Excellent observations and perspective! Thank you for sharing. We are all in this together. It’s a nice reminder for us all!

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