Song 06 - Breaking Ground. Click to explore themes and stories relating to this song.

What was it like to fall in love, get married, and have babies in 2020?

Stories and Remembrances


When we asked people about their experience of 2020 for this project, we tried to make our questions as open-ended as possible. We didn’t want to direct the questions in such a way as to lead people to answers that we thought were relevant to the time — we wanted to hear their own genuine expression of what their experience of 2020 was, without our influence. And so we were genuinely surprised when so many people shared stories about experiences we hadn’t anticipated would be so common in 2020: falling in love, getting married, and having babies. (click to continue reading)

There were so many stories about these topics in our story collection that we simply couldn’t not make them a part of the project. And as we thought about them more, we realized what a powerful contrast each of these experiences was against the backdrop of a year in which the whole world seemed to be on fire: each of them seemed to be like an audacious act of hope in a time that was in so many ways despairing. 

Like the act of falling in love …
One of the most vulnerable things we can do as humans is to open our hearts to the possibility of love shared with another person. It’s vulnerable because it requires us to bare our innermost selves, and the outcome is never guaranteed. It is an act that is dependent upon an opening of the softest, most delicate parts of our hearts — and in a time when the chaos and uncertainty in the world provide endless reasons to harden up and protect ourselves, opening oneself to the fragile possibility of new love is a downright bold act. 

Like the act of getting married …
In a time when pandemic restrictions meant that we couldn’t safely gather together in groups, events like wedding ceremonies — where, often, dozens of family members and friends come together to witness and to celebrate — were forced to change dramatically, if they weren’t postponed altogether. But we heard in the stories that a lot of people got married in 2020! We heard from one newlywed that the large wedding of what she referred to as her “so-called dreams” was transformed into a small event that “was wonderful beyond my wildest dreams.” When the more extravagant trappings of a ritual like this fall into the category of public health hazard, being able to shed them and embrace the elemental core of what it means for two people to begin a life together is an utterly devoted act.

Like the act of having a baby …
It’s hard to think of a starker contrast to a time marked by so much hardship and suffering than bringing a brand-new life into the world. Into a world where a global pandemic was raging, authoritarianism was on the rise, injustice was fueling major social unrest, and literal fires were burning significant parts of western North America … that new, pure, tiny little person was
… a reminder … that life is a miracle,
… an affirmation … that humanity can be breathtakingly beautiful,
… and a promise … that we will keep building something better here, for ourselves and for each other.

So, this song is for all of the flag-planters of this last year.
To all of you who, against the odds of the current moment, raised a banner that said …

The world is burning. 
But there is a future. 
And it starts here, today. 

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The whole damn world is burning down
But you and I are breaking ground
To see if we can’t get something to grow
Falling in love is worth giving a go

The glowing flicker sets a mood
What do we really have to lose?
A growing sense of running out of time
Maybe an everlasting dream will rise
Maybe an everlasting dream will rise
As the world burns (click to continue reading)

This is the moment, it’s now (or never)
Braving the odds, breaking ground (together)
Bury a seed like a vow to forever as the world burns
As the world burns

Don’t want another day to pass
When any one could be our last
To say to you “until death do us part”
There is a future and today it starts
There is a future and today it starts
As the world burns

This is the moment, it’s now (or never)
Braving the odds, breaking ground (together)
Bury a seed like a vow to forever as the world burns
No certainty this will stand (as ever)
Let’s take a chance and dig in (together)
Bury a seed like a vow to forever as the world burns

The whole damn world is burning down
But you and I are breaking ground
These little hands and these little feet
Will make the world whatever it will be
They’ll make the world whatever it will be
After the world burns

words and music by Shannon Curtis
published by Shannon K (ASCAP)
all rights reserved; lyrics reprinted by permission

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If you have a story to share about falling in love, getting married, or having a baby in 2020, please send it to Jamie at jamie@misfitstars.com.

  • amanda c.
    In November of 2020 I gave birth to my third baby. His birth was one I never thought would happen because my husband had decided, after the birth of our second child, that he was happy with two kids. I was heartbroken and attempted to come to terms with this for years since I could… Continue reading amanda c.
  • julianna l.
    My husband Paul and I have been trying to have a baby for 15 years and have done every fertility test and treatment you can think of. About 4 years ago now we did two rounds of IVF with a top doctor in the field who we loved and trusted, and both times our little… Continue reading julianna l.
  • michawn s.
    I met my fiancé November of 2020. We started dating and got closer during the pandemic. This could make or break a new relationship! We helped each other and learned a lot about each other and fell in love. We got engaged on March 6th this year.
  • jaclyn p.
    I fell in love with someone I wasn’t expecting to even like. I spent most of the pandemic working on me and concentrating on my kids. It happened when I least expected it.
  • christian d.
    I’m 46, and I’m from North Carolina. Three years ago, after my divorce, I headed out to the West Coast to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I walked from the Canadian border to South Lake Tahoe, CA. Since winter was approaching, I decided not to attempt continuing the trail through the Sierras, and instead I… Continue reading christian d.
  • kayla k.
    My husband and I got engaged on January 4, 2020. I attended a bridal expo one week later and we started booking vendors and searching for the perfect venue. We had our security deposits paid and the venue secured by the end of January for our June 20th wedding. Invitations went out to 175 people… Continue reading kayla k.
  • craig v.
    Sarah and I had planned to be married exactly 30 years after we met as teenagers, in the town where it all started. A month out from the big day, with everything booked and paid for, the first lot of major lockdowns happened in Australia. Suddenly, every plan we’d made for the year was thrown… Continue reading craig v.
  • linda b.
    We had originally planned to marry on 10/10/2020, and then off to Italy for our honeymoon. It was a dream vacation for us both. We saw how the pandemic was really starting to get bad in Asia. I knew it was coming here and I knew it would be bad. Ultimately we decided against our… Continue reading linda b.
  • doug h.
    We added a ‘bonus kid’! One of my daughter’s friends. He’s a college student, but has been on his own for some time. He was couch surfing when covid hit. He’s ours now!
  • bethany l.
    My daughter got married last May! We thought we’d be able to throw a party for their first anniversary at least but here we still are, moving back into a high risk category in our county and still with family that’s not vaccinated. It was a wonderful wedding, though! It turned out to be just… Continue reading bethany l.