Though I am a mediocre writer and have an admittedly poor sense of time, I figure it would be a good habit to start jotting down some reflections and happenings from the past year if only to have a time capsule of memories to be reminded of later on.
Close to a year ago, as 2013 was winding down, I felt in my gut that 2014 was going to be different than other years; that it would be big. I wasn’t sure how or in what ways, but there was an anticipation that I hadn’t previously felt about the beginning of a new year.
In the Spring, Michelle and I piled into a winnebago rv and rumbled across the country conquering new and familiar terrain. Seeing the beauty and diversity of the U.S. never grows old and being able to eat a popsicle whilst driving is one of the many perks of rv travel. Though we did hit some bumps along the way (see hitting a low-hanging tree in Big Sur and nearly tearing the roof off of the brand new rv), I am so grateful to have a best friend for a wife who is always down for new adventures and endeavors.
On a Monday night in early June, twelve hours before boarding a flight to Dublin where we would begin our month in the UK, Michelle took a pregnancy test that in no uncertain terms proclaimed, “PREGNANT”. I don’t know how one is supposed to react or feel in that kind of situation and it is still admittedly surreal that there is a new life chilling in Michelle’s belly, but I can’t begin to describe the joy and excitement at the thought of raising a little human together. Having had six-years of marriage is a gift I will always treasure, but I know that our greatest adventure is now only weeks away from arriving. We know that she’s a little girl and for now is healthy. I know that we will disappoint her and mess up a ton, but I know for certain that we’re going to love the face off of that thing.
The Summer was full but a good kind of full; I still can’t believe that we make a living doing something we love and believe in so much. But then things. that are too personal to write here, started to unravel and snowball. I know how ominous that may sound but that will simply have to suffice. From that point forward, much of the Fall is a blur and even in hindsight is still sort-of foggy. What I can say is that it is amazing how resilient people are and how time really does betray us all.
To continue on the more weighty subject matter, as recently as two days ago, we sat with Michelle’s grandpa as he was just transferred to hospice where the average stay is seven days. Though still lucid, her grandpa sat there in his power wheel-chair unable to do much of anything on his own. On his tray sat a small bowl that contained: a plastic bag of black licorice, chap stick, a buzzer to call the nurses, and an empty money clip. One of his sons jokingly remarked that that was all he had left. From a possession perspective, that might be true, but he was surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and soon-to-be great granddaughter.
I could write at length about the implications and life-lessons that were contained in that room during that exchange, but it certainly left an indelible imprint on my mind of what really matters and where my focus really ought to lie. Without relationships, family or friends, we’re left with stuff and that stuff is ultimately, profoundly meaningless. I’m becoming more and more convinced that there is really no way around this fact.
As I sit here now at the end of 2014, looking down the barrel of 2015 where I will become a dad and turn 30 in quick succession (though I still can’t grow a beard), my head is swimming at the number of life changes and life cycles that stand as such stark landmarks from the past twelve months: the expansion, dissolution, and loss of family; the infinite number of reasons that I have to be grateful on a daily basis but realizing how quickly I can be distracted or my focus be fragmented. I desire more than ever to live intentionally and more than ever do I realize how important that desire is.
Cheers to the unknown path that lies ahead in 2015, complete with all of the terror and joy that the unknown can hold, but so long as we take the time to pause and reflect and so long as we move forward with intentionality, may there be comfort in knowing that we are exactly where we need to be.