Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - Like Kissing Your Sister

We probably should have stayed at home. But we didn't.
Instead, Abz and I just got back from a late afternoon trip to Wal-Mart, and WOW - that place was packed. The lines were so long you'd think they were rolling back prices EVERY DAY.

Didn't take me long to figure it out- people were stocking up for parties tonight.
I've never seen crowds of people like that getting ready for New Years Eve, and with the economy the way it's been, I didn't expect the Wal-Mart crowd to have much to celebrate - or much to celebrate with! Then it hit me - that's exactly WHY they're celebrating. In fact, it's a little bit of the reason I'm celebrating, too.
In a whole lot of ways, 2009 kind of sucked.
People are throwing a huge going away party for this year that can't be over soon enough.
Goodbye and good riddance 2009.

But as I pushed my heavier-by-the-minute buggy around the store, I started to think about it.
2009 was probably just like every other year. A little bit up. A little bit down. The problem is, only the really crappy parts stick out in our memories. And I'm not sure that's fair. Yes, some really really crappy things happened. But some really great things also happened.

Early this year, a pregnancy we had been really excited about failed after about 7 weeks.
We were absolutely grief-stricken.
But about 9 months later 4 couples who are absolutely dear to us had little ones of their own, and we got to be there with them all in the hospital!
We were overcome with joy!

Two of my oldest friends got separated and then divorced from their wives this year. Guys I have not been good friends to since I moved away.
However - my only little sister got married this year. A Renaissance wedding.
And I got to write and perform the ceremony - in costume! What an honor.
In fact - I did at least 4 weddings this year (that I know of)!

I didn't get to be with my family for Christmas, but we were there for quite a while at Thanksgiving!

Around March the Batmobile finally died for good. It was the first car I bought by myself, and completely paid off myself.
Wouldn't you know, though - I got a new car! A better car. For a good price.

We bought a house this year! A HOUSE! In THIS economy! And we love it.

Over Spring Break I took some older kids to Dallas, stayed at a great hotel, went to Six Flags, ate at Medieval Times, and really enjoyed learning from each other.
We traveled to Disney World with Andrew and Raine Neilson (and in-utero Big Ben) in May.
We went to North Carolina with the students this Summer.
I got my first passport and spent a week in Brazil teaching, preaching, washing dishes, and being very humbled. My first trip out of the country besides Mexico! Certainly my longest airplane ride.

We dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler for Fall Festival at Halloween
We dressed as a wizard and a fairy and went to the Renaissance Festival.
We dressed in Victorian garb and ventured down to Dickens on the Strand.

We went to the Baylor game vs. UConn at Floyd Casey Stadium, and they lost.
We went to the LSU game vs. Arkansas at Tiger Stadium - and they won! In overtime!

Michael Jackson died, which actually was kind of jarring to me. He was a formative influence on my life as a kid.
But I also saw Derek Webb, Rob Bell, Muse, and OH HOLY CRAP - U2 in concert. Seriously bucket-list kind of stuff there.

I did NOT get an iPhone or my own copy of Settlers of Catan.

But I'm still alive.
Still married to the greatest girlfriend I've ever had. (We made 3 whole years last week!)
Cash and Pixy are the two greatest, cutest, smartest, snuggliest dogs on the planet.
I still have a job.
My parents are still around. My wife's parents are still around.
I'm relatively healthy - I'm even down a couple of pounds!

God is still better to me than I deserve, and even if he wasn't, could I complain?
Certainly not. I have taken so much good from him, I would gladly take the bad as well.
"The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away - Blessed be the name of the Lord." - Job

I hope your 2009 was epic.
I hope your 2010 is better.

May YHWH bless you and keep you.
May YHWH lift his face upon you.
May YHWH turn his countenance toward you
And give you shalom...

Grace + Peace,