Bob Wellinski: We made it. And we’re the better for it.


By WNLP’s Bob Wellinski

“A very Merry Christmas

And a happy New Year

Let’s hope it’s a good one

Without any fear”


  • John Lennon- “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”


For most people, the countdown to 2021 began months ago. As we ring in this new year, we “hope it’s a good one, without any fear.”

But after experiencing 2020, do we tippy toe into 2021 or embrace it with hope?


A year ago, New Year 2020 came in without any fear. Most people were busy making plans along with their New Year’s resolutions, as is custom. Parade magazine listed the top 10 common resolutions as: losing weight, improving finances, exercising, getting a new job, eating healthier, managing stress better, stopping smoking, improving a relationship, stopping procrastination, and making more time for oneself. Any of those sound familiar?

It took a little over three months before most, if not all, resolutions went by the wayside. Not because of the usual culprits: laziness or loss of interest. Because of fear. 

Merriam-Webster defines fear as “an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” In this case, fear of something that’s 0.12 microns: a deadly virus. Life as we knew it came to a grinding halt as the COVID-19 pandemic forced pretty much everyone to live life within the confines of their homes. Faces of loved ones and strangers alike went into hiding behind facemasks. Loved ones died.

Those facemasks forced us to look into the eyes of other people, allowing us to see them in a different, maybe deeper sense.

It wasn’t just the pandemic that brought on an animosity toward 2020. Social unrest, protests and riots across the country, and an election, divided many. Acting as an accelerant, social media seemed to fuel the fires and sharpen the divide. 

So many lost loved ones this year. My dad passed away in March. COVID-19 kept us from being with him at the end. 

How can 2021 get any worse? What if we thought that a year ago about 2020? 

Here’s my resolution for all of us: Let’s not worry what 2021 is going to bring, and let’s leave 2020 in the past. Let’s look forward to this year with hope, and not just hope it’s a good one.

But before we leave 2020 in the dust, let’s look at it with a different “prescription,” one that’s fine-tuned.

What did we accomplish in 2020 despite the adversity – adversity most of us haven’t seen in our lifetimes?

– We managed to make it through, despite the speed bumps we encountered. Many accommodations were made to our “normal lifestyles.” Plain and simple, it was extremely uncomfortable. But we did it. (I still don’t understand the toilet paper shortage, though.)

– Healthcare workers were, and still are, pushed to the brink. Educators and students adjusted to a new way of learning. Employers and employees managed to get the job done. We had to forgo in-person family gatherings and business meetings, but thanks to technology we gathered via video sessions. Churches and the faithful had to work together to continue Christ’s mission in new ways.

– People rose to the occasion and did what had to be done. Scientists developed the COVID-19 vaccine within 9 months. 

Take a moment and look closely at your personal lives: What did you accomplish this past year? What blessings (big or little) can you think of that happened in 2020? While I lost my dad, I became a first-time grandpa to a beautiful granddaughter, Madelyn (whom I’m still waiting to hold). 

There were many blessings to be thankful for in 2020 if we just take the time to appreciate them. The little things we see and hear every day – a sunrise, raindrops, our family and friends, fall colors. It’s these things we take for granted. Maybe, after experiencing 2020, we can appreciate the smaller things in life in 2021.

2020, you may have knocked us around, but many, many of us made it. While we don’t know what’s in store for us each day of this new year, you taught us to expect the unexpected. You made us stronger and more persistent and more innovative than before.

2021, we don’t know what you have in store for us – and that’s OK. We are a people of faith and hope.

10 Responses to “Bob Wellinski: We made it. And we’re the better for it.”

  1. Charlie Maslankowski

    Jan 01. 2021

    Many thanks for sharing your amazing gift of a keen photographic set of eyes. You along with so many of us faced the unknown fear of this virus that changed life for so many! So sorry about the loss of your dad, cherish him with the depth of what he meant to you and those close to the family. Not sure who coined the phrase of “what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger”, but we will prevail. Godspeed

    Reply to this comment
  2. Jill Kitowski

    Jan 01. 2021

    There were some days throughout 2020 when the events of the day/week/month just precluded my reading anything because of an attention span of about 10 seconds. It was those times your photos truly exemplified “a picture is worth a thousand words.” You truly are able to capture the soul of La Porte and have lifted many spirits, mine among them. Thank you. May 2021 prove to be the beginning of a turnaround for our country, and may we demonstrate by actions that we are better for having endured 2020.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Tim Cavinder

    Jan 01. 2021

    Very well stated Bob. Happy New Year. Going into 2021 I’m keeping a Beatles quote nearby “It’s getting better all the time.” (From Sgt. Pepper’s) Maybe that line will prove to be the soundtrack of the new year. Let’s hope and pray so.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Frank Zolvinski

    Jan 01. 2021

    I enjoyed reading your article Bob and agree with your perspective. Thanks for your wonderful photography as you tell the stories of La Porte and beyond. A very happy New Year.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Michele Dailey

    Jan 01. 2021

    You are a man of wisdom. Bob. Thanks for shining a light.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Douglas Noveroske

    Jan 01. 2021

    Bob, You are a gifted photographer and writer. I pray for your family as you morn your fathers passing. We often ask why? We look to God for the answers. We see God in each other and the sacrafice we offer for care of one another in love. We become more in tune with God in our lives as we lose ourselves. Difficult times brings God more in focus in the beauty of Creation and His people.We carry the armor of God into battle everyday. We will carry on to the journey of discovery of God his love, grace, and the hope that faith lifts our Spirit and carrys the day..Bless us o Lord in the New Year!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Rev. Ron Brauer

    Jan 01. 2021

    Amen to Douglas’ comment–and thank you, Bob, for your coverage by both script and photos. Be blessed this 2021 with good health, love, joy, and creativity. We can all use that as we repair what was broken, mend what we can fix, and trust God in all circumstances to heal our nation.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Anna

    Jan 01. 2021

    Thank you Bob for the beautifully written article I ‘m so in awe of you writing for NWI Catholic , this site and going to All the many things you do . Thank you for your perspective and This year will be the best ever Amen Anna Maria Flores

    Reply to this comment
    • Julie Kessler

      Jan 02. 2021

      How I’ve enjoyed watching your talent in photography expand into photojournalism, Bob! What a gift you continue to be for the community.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Dave Wegiel

    Jan 03. 2021

    Well said Bob! I really enjoy your pics and your writing. Thanks for sharing and am looking forward to many more this year.

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply