I remember as a child feeling like a year lasted for an eternity. Surely I am not the only person who felt this way! What was it about childhood that made time seem slower? Now, the years seem to roll by and every New Year’s Eve I find myself wondering where the previous year went. Yet here I find myself—January 1, 2014—the beginning of another year.
But I am not ready to leave 2013 just yet. Join me on a highlight’s tour of 2013.
February—Nemo, the blizzard. Since moving to New York, I have lived through my share of storms–two hurricanes and one blizzard. Nemo dumped three feet of snow in our area. I have never seen so much snow in my life! For the better part of a week, my outside world was blanketed in a winter wonderland. As silly as it may sound, I loved preparing for the storm by making soup, baking bread, and making sure we had the necessary supplies should we lose power. Yes, a blizzard counts as a highlight for me.
Spring Break—Women’s Retreat. Living in a community such as the one at Stony Brook brings many blessings as well as its share of challenges. One blessing was attending a two-night retreat with some of the faculty spouses. We rented a house in the Hamptons, shared meals together, enjoyed times of worship and teaching, spent evenings in front of the fireplace laughing and talking, and explored the quaint towns of the Hamptons. As difficult as it was to start over in a new place and build new relationships two years ago, I am grateful to share my life with these women.
June—a Texas visit. This past summer marked the two year mark since we left Waco. For Anna’s birthday, Brad and I decided to send her for a visit. While I was thrilled that she could go and see her old stomping grounds and friends, I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit to feeling a teeny bit jealous that I wasn’t going as well. Imagine then, my surprise and gratitude when someone gifted me a ticket. Life in Waco wasn’t perfect (duh!), but my Live Oak students and colleagues hold a special place in my heart. I miss them. My cup was filled until the next visit….
Summer—Long Island. For a variety of reasons, we chose to visit family early in the summer, leaving a large chunk of time where we were home—on Long Island. Even though we can have hot, humid days, they are the exception, not the norm. From refreshing walks in the morning to dining al fresco on the deck, I love being outdoors. I particularly enjoyed my bike rides exploring the area. Our lives are full during the school year, making the slower days of summer a crucial time for reestablishing healthy rhythms of rest and renewal. This summer was that for me.
Fall—a blur. This one is a mixed highlight for me. Overall, I loved coaching cross country and teaching full-time, but my life had very little margin during this season (see The End of a Run). I know from experience that next fall will be easier, but I find it especially difficult to be attentive to God’s presence when life presses in. I can only hope that as I continue to age (and hopefully mature) that I will see progress in this area of my life.
This brings me to 2014. One of the verses I read this morning from Sarah Young’s devotional, Jesus Calling, was Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The beginning of a New Year is time of hope and expectancy. What will the New Year bring? For sure, there will be moments of joy, pain, disappointment, growth, and ordinariness. While I don’t even know what tomorrow holds, I know this: God’s constancy and presence in my life doesn’t waver based on my feelings, my habits (or lack thereof), or my performance. So I want to experience a deeper sense of God’s presence in my life, no matter what my circumstances. What about you? What do you hope for in 2014?