When the Hubby sat down to write the never-quite-as-annual-as-we’d-like-it Christmas letter to put into cards and send out, I knew he’d approach it from an honest, if filtered, place. I also had heard him say more than once how 2015 was a horrible year.
Let me just say that I had no idea just how differently we’d experienced the last 12 months. Some of that has to do with our personality differences, perhaps more with the way we process life events, especially loss.
As with all people who get up into the middle and back half of the average life span, each year brings more deaths among our circles of family and friends. Add in the occupational reality of ministry with an older congregation, and we had way too many funerals and memorial services in our date book.
It doesn’t help that we had to put our sweet FredDog down early in the year. While we were still adjusting to the Kid deciding to live away from home. And the adorable VW Beetle convertible that got totaled in April. And the Grateful Dead officially retiring in July. And those were just (some of) the things that touched our lives most directly.
Certainly there were plenty of big events in our country and around the world that made it seem as though much of humanity were competing to deliver the worst of the worst treatment of others. Bombings, shootings, executions, displays of every possible -ism….
But then, there were some pretty amazing days in there. Like the days I was examined and approved for ordination by the COM and then by the Presbytery as a whole. The worship and party that was my ordination day. The day the hubby’s dissertation proposal was approved. Our 21st wedding anniversary.
We took some really nice rides on our motorcycles. We got enough back from the totaled Bug to get a new truck. We found a cheap convertible to replace my dying PT Cruiser.
I got to go to Cuba, where I finally had one of “those” mission trips that opens a part of your heart to people you’ve never met but can’t imagine being without. He made a trip up to see his best friend in the whole world. And we both got to reconnect with some old friends who came to town throughout the year.
And here’s the kicker… I am still amazed that every week I get to do a “job” that uses so many of the gifts and talents and skills that make me who I am. And that this work connects me to people with whom I have become good friends and colleagues. And that part of the work is to discover God’s presence in and speak grace over all the big, small, hard, easy, beautiful, ugly, extraordinary and quotidian moments of life.
Maybe that work is what makes it possible for me to see the year as just another year filled with big, small, hard, easy, beautiful, ugly, extraordinary and quotidian moments. And trust that among them, the good might outweigh the bad. Even if they don’t, I can trust that we are not alone in any of them.
I’d sure be willing to have an easier, more joy-filled and less stressful 2016. We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime,
So long, 2105. It’s been good to know you.