This Isn't What I Ordered, a retrospective
I was thinking about this the other day - someone on a youth ministry forum started a thread on the top 5 highlights of this year. Well, I thought I would start to compile some of my highlights and lowlights.
We'll start with the lows.
It's not hard to figure out the big ones:
- Tara's rheumatoid arthritis. Not the diagnosis, but the disease itself.
- The last few months at my previous church. Now, there were some good moments, but the truth was, things were bad. Things had been really tough for a while, but only a few people know how bad they were. I am grateful for some good friends who knew the back story as well as the front story, people who stuck in there, listened to me, sympathized with me, etc. It was certainly an eye-opening experience and it showed me who were really my friends.
- The move. I learned how the UMC really works with the move, and it was tough leaving our friends in Columbus and trying to adjust to a completely different way of life.*(see below for more on the move)
- Beth's death. I hadn't lived here long when Beth went to the hospital. I was on vacation when she was diagnosed with cancer. We all thought she would pull through, but obviously we were wrong. I didn't get a chance to know her very well, but I know she and Tara would have been good friends, and Matt is one of the coolest people ever.
There are probably more things to go on the lowlight list, but I wanted to get to some of the highlights.
- Jonathan. The boy is awesome. It's so fun to watch him grow and learn. There's nothing like hearing him excitedly say, "DADDY!" when I come home. He is a great kid. His first birthday party was a blast, not only to watch him nosedive in his cake, but also to see our best friends all together one last time before we moved.
- The move. I don't think I knew quite how bad things were until I was somewhere else. I didn't really realize how much things were affecting every aspect of my life, how much stress I was under every day to do things a certain way, to have certain outcomes, to make other people happy (and I believe that was a key aspect of my previous job -- to make some people happy). The people here have been wonderful, and the stress level has been incredibly lower. I find myself working harder, because I'm not crippled by the stress. I find myself happier because I'm not being forced into a role I can't do.
- My friends. I won't try to list names here, because I would probably forget someone, but, like I said above, this year has been a study in who is really a friend. I think of my small group friends, my MNF friends, my pastor friends, my youth pastor friends (many of whom I only know via the internet), my church friends, my friends I met at church who aren't "church friends", my high school friends (yeah, both of the ones I still keep in touch with, and I'd say likewise for college friends). As a great philosopher once said, "I'm glad you came along, I dedicate this song..."
- Soccer. I didn't realize that when I left Columbus, that I would be playing (and coaching!) so much more soccer than I'd seen in the past 4 years. I'm sorry; I never thought of NW Ohio as a soccer hotbed, but as soon as I got here, I found where the adult pick-up games were being played. Of course, winning a championship or four in Columbus (I think I won 2 in 2005) was pretty sweet. Anyway, I really loved playing against the New Bremen U19s (it didn't hurt that we spanked them 4-0), and I thoroughly loved coaching the NK high school goalkeepers this year.
- Vacation. We did get to take some vacations this year, one of which hardly seemed like a vacation since it was right in the middle of the move garbage. It was good to get away, though! Then we went to Seneca Lake and had a blast, including when a bunch of friends came and visited us there. Too bad we couldn't get a speedboat -- maybe next time. We also had a good time at Lake Michigan, but who's counting?
- The new church. It's great being here. I'm not just saying that. It really is.
My list wouldn't be complete without including Tara, but it should go without saying that she really tops my list.
I'll make some more highlight and lowlight lists sometime in the future...