2012 has been a long and crazy year I’m definitely ready for it to be done with it. But like any year its taught me much.
I always feel like a new year is a clean slate. All the trials and mistakes of the old year are gone, and settled in the corners of memory. The New Year is like a breath of fresh air, a time in our calendar to find our way forward in life again.
So, this my homage to the 2012 in my life, and to embracing the beginning of a brand new year.
(In no particular order….and in random combination of serious and not so serious)
-This year I was able to settle on what I think about certain issues in the world and in the culture. I found that I do feel strongly about things, and that I do know where I stand and what “side” I’m on. Granted, I still have much to learn, and even settling myself in those places, doesn’t mean I’ll never question them again. I have also learned that there is a time and place for me to express how I feel about something. But it is possible to have wisdom in knowing when and how I say things, and I have discovered that I can say things without fearing what people think.
-I’ve learned there is no way that everyone will always agree on everything. I’ve begun to accept this more and more easily. I can always learn so much from those that I don’t agree with. This is a gift, and this has been a significant part of my life this year. I am grateful for it.
-While I have settled myself in some areas, there are other things I have questioned. I am thinker and I do question. This year, I have questioned a lot of culturally accepted things that I have been told my whole life. Things that I’ve always sort of taken for granted. But I don’t anymore. Some things are American cultural things. Others are church cultural things. I can’t just accept them for what they just because my culture (both “secular” and church) tells me this is how it is. Asking these types of questions help me find where I stand. It sharpens what I truly believe or don’t believe in. I embrace this process for in it I know there is growth and hopefully a better understanding of my world and the place that God has for me in it.
-I have learned how much of a community of love and support I have around me. I have seen and experienced the love of true friendship, and the beauty of knowing all the people in my life that I do. I will not ever again, take for granted the friends that I have or the family that I was born into. I cannot thank God enough for these people and the blessing that they are.
-I have experienced things spiritually that I never have before. I spent a short period of time late this past summer into fall participating in a ministry that broadened my spiritual horizons. I saw the power of the Holy Spirit, and the genuineness of a passionate faith truly lived out. I saw people healed, physically healed by God’s power used through his people. (Yes, it happened. I saw it with my own eyes. There is very little anyone could say to convince me it’s impossible or that it can’t or doesn’t happen.) For the first time, through this experience I made a stronger connection to truly living out a life of faith. I’ve always treasured the intellectual, philosophical, academic side of faith. I’ve grown up in a tradition that emphasized that type of knowledge. I treasure that deeply, and believe strongly in that side of the equation. But, now, I also have seen firsthand a strong example of living your faith out in an emotional, daily, genuine manner. I’ve made the connection between the two. I sort of knew what it was before, but now I’ve seen it in a tangible way. This has challenged me. I want to live with both sides of this equation equally manifested in my life. I know I won’t do it well, and will probably fail a lot. But, I want to try. While I am no longer a part of this ministry, (it was only meant for that small period of time, I believe), I will not ever forget what it taught me or how God used it in my life.
-I’ve learned to trust God, and rely on him when I’m at a complete loss as to what else to do or unable to understand what’s happening.
-I’ve found my faith is real, even when the circumstances of my life make it feel like everything is falling apart. My faith has not been shaken by some of the events of this past year. It has stayed. It has not faltered. It has tightened and not been shaken. I pray that this will always be true.
-I’ve begun to really delve into what the desires of my heart are. One of those things is to live a life of fearlessness. To do things I’ve never done before; to challenge myself to do the hard things and to do things that scare me.
-I went tubing for the first time in my life. It was terrifying. But it was amazing.
-There are all the random shenanigans and random adventures with friends. The memories made, the laughter shared, and the relationships deepened. Millions of moments, that I can’t remember all of, but I do remember the large memories, the faces and the events that stay with me.
-I was hurt this year. I was hurt worse than I’ve ever been hurt before. I was hurt by the words and actions of a friend. The relationship was broken. The whole thing was a mess. I found out what it meant when someone’s actions did not line up with their words. I learned that I could walk away from a person, from a relationship. I learned I could walk away and say no. I learned that I could also give it a second chance, but when that second chance fell apart again I learned that I could say no again, and this time for good. I learned that my trust in a person could be shattered so deeply, I’m not positive it could ever be truly repaired with that person. I learned how much I could hurt. I learned that I am perfectly capable of feeling resentment and wanting revenge, even when objectively I know that’s wrong and I truly don’t want to feel that way. I’ve also learned that while my trust can be that broken with one person, it doesn’t ruin my trust in my other friends. I’ve learned that I don’t have to lose other relationships just because one failed. For this I am grateful. I’m grateful that God in his grace has taught me enough to know that I would never make the one messed up relationship an indicator of all my other relationships that do work. I’m grateful for this, and I’m so grateful for the love that I have in these other relationships. Where there is one betrayal of trust, there are many others where trust and love has grown stronger and has not wavered.
-I’ve learned that I get overwhelmed by party planning, especially if there is more than one at once. At the same time, I’ve found that I would do it again, just maybe one, once in a while, and smaller. I have found that my heart does love hospitality and I would love do it more than I do.
-LOTR never changes. No matter how old I get it will always be a solid, friendly, unchanging story that never wavers no matter how much I change. I’ve probably said this a million times, but it’s true. I’m thankful for Tolkien and for LOTR for the way which the story has transcended time and is still impacting its world even years after it was written.
-My love of doing theatre has diminished. I kind of wondered when this day would come, if ever, and I think it has arrived. I got worn out by the last two shows I did. The fall season came and I barely realized it. No, I still love theatre. I also treasure every single show I’ve ever done, and I don’t regret any of them, even the ones I never want to see again. You have no idea how much I’ve learned from my theatre experience or how much doing it has shaped me as a person. I’ve loved every bit of it. I just think, for many reasons, it’s not going to be such a prominent part of my life anymore. Doesn’t mean I’ll never do another show. It just means I’m more reluctant and less likely do as many. I will always support it. I always remember certain shows with a great deal of affection. (Others, with a great deal less affection). But just as the community of Cornerstone theatre has been changing (a lot), so I am changing and moving on to other things.
-I didn’t really travel at all this year. I hate that. One of the few things I did do was go to Chicago for a day. It was exhausting, but I loved every bit of it. I also went to a friend’s cottage for a night which was lovely and quite memorable.
-I feel better physically then I ever have before. It’s still an imperfect, on-going, life-long process, but I’ve tried to make at least some small changes in my lifestyle to make it healthier. As a result, I feel way better and I find myself more aware of what my body is telling me, what it needs, and what I put into it. This awareness comes from a changed mindset. I feel like the way I view “healthy living” has been completely transformed from what it used to be. I still have a long ways to go, and I’m still weak in many areas. But I’m better than I was. And that, while small, is a victory.
-There were many weddings this year. A couple of them were for amazing people and I reveled in being able to share such a momentous occasion with these beautiful couples.
-Pastor Mark left West Cannon this summer. That was a hard goodbye. He was an incredible pastor and a solid role model, someone I respected and loved dearly. But he went where God called him, and while I still miss him, I know he is thriving and blessed where he is.
-Another friend moved across the country. This was hard too. It was one of those things that I did regret….regret not spending more time with her while she was here, not pursuing the relationship more intentionally with someone I love, admire, and respect. But we are still friends. And I’m so grateful for that.
-I went to JAFAX, the anime festival in my area. I loved it. It’s a grand thing to be in a place where people are more nerdy than you are and therefore you can be as nerdy as you want to be with no shame.
-The Hobbit arrived, FINALLY after over 10 years of waiting since the trilogy. And the world went wild with anticipation. I went to opening night and dressed up with ears and a costume. It was a fantastic night, and it more than made up for the lack of attendance to opening nights for the trilogy. The world in which The Hobbit has arrived in, is vastly changed from the world that the trilogy arrived in. Such an event made me feel more aware of being in the middle of history-making.
-It was the year for movies. The Hunger Games, The Avengers, Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit, and the ending of the infamous Twilight saga.
-I went camping for the first time in my life. I slept in the back of a car in the midst of early November. Yes, it was cold, BUT there were no people and no bugs and we took an epic hike in the beautiful woods of upper Michigan.
-I went to help film students on a film shoot for an ENTIRE day. I LOVED every minute of it. I’m still wondering why I don’t do stuff like this more often. I know what my heart is passionate about, and this experience was like the hand in the glove for that passion. I’ve learned how little I use that particular passion, and how badly I want to use and express it more than I do. Perhaps, this is something to look towards in 2013.
-The world went crazy in 2012. It’s always been crazy, but it keeps getting crazier.
-We had an awful, nasty, mean presidential election. The politics bit hard and were vicious and the end result made it all seem incredibly futile and pointless.
-It was the year of OCCUPY. It was the year of continued economic down turn, of bigger governmental fingers being where they shouldn’t be, of “women’s liberation” and getting down to the nitty gritty of homosexual rights. It was the year of the world ending, and the year of death, including little children shot in their own classrooms. It was the year of upheaval and hurricanes and disasters and war. It was a year of history-making, really no different than any other year in past time.
-I lost my grandparents. Both of them, one right after the other, leaving me with only one grandparent left after an entire childhood of having four of them. They died within two weeks of each other, having almost made it to 70 years of marriage. The weariness of sorrow was incredibly challenging for my family, especially during the Christmas season. But I am grateful for the legacy of my grandparents, and for the amount of time that they were in my life.
-It was hard this Christmas to enter into the jollity of the season and to truly enjoy it. But one thing I did feel was the importance of the people in my life and how much I should not take them for granted. Ultimately, in that sense, it was a good Christmas, because I was more in tune with the fact that the greatest gifts I have been given, next to the Christ-child, are the people in my life, and they are more important than all the trappings and trimmings of Christmas.
-I’ve made some beautiful new friends this year, while strengthening the bonds of the beautiful friends I already have.
-I’m turning 27. And I’m totally good with it.