Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Prodigal Blogger: A Year in Review

Despite all the good intentions bubbling out of my very pores at the beginning of 2015, my regular blog came to a screeching halt after a single posting. I didn’t plan it that way, but life has a way of changing all our plans.

This year, for whatever reason, seemed to be one of turmoil. Ferguson, followed by the “Black Lives Matter” movement, ISIS, marriage definitions, gender definitions, riots at home, terrorism on the rise at home and abroad— all these and more have put the country and the world on edge. Political and racial divisions are as deep as ever. Anger seems to be the defining emotion.

For me, the year has been so full and busy it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. It’s a struggle to even remember what I did or accomplished. Rather than steering the boat of my life down the river of the year, it’s more like I hit a roaring rapids and lost my oars.

But here are a few highlights/lessons I learned along the way…

·    Never take a cruise at Christmas time. You will discover that enjoying the beauty and warm air of the Caribbean doesn’t hold a candle to spending this joyful holiday with your loved ones.

·    Flying somewhere is no match for a road trip. But if you’re going to take one, make it leisurely and see the sights. You will be glad you did.

·    Turn off your television. If you don’t, it will steal every last moment of your life it can get its hands on; and it gives you nothing in return.

·    We tend to stop celebrating our birthdays from about age 40 to 69 or so.  Celebrate every birthday! You may reach 90 (like my dear old dad has this year)… but the truth is, we have no guarantee of tomorrow. Every day is a gift. Don’t cheat yourself out of the joy of life by pining over your age.

·    Dream and plan. Your dreams and plans may or may not work out, but dream and plan anyway. If you don’t, you’re deliberately tossing your oars in the water.

·    Your children are not clone copies of yourself (thank God!) Love them for who they are. And when they grow up, love them for who they are. They usually forgive you for all the mistakes you made raising them.

·    When you fall off the wagon (whatever wagon you’re riding), dust yourself off and get back on. Where there’s life, there’s hope.

I feel like the prodigal child when it comes to my blog. After a couple months of posting nothing, I was ashamed to even open the page and look at it. The more time that went by, the more loathe I was to even think about blogging ever again. I even considered dismantling the blog site altogether. Such is the progression of self-despising behavior. Who wants to read what I have to say, anyway?

And that might be true. Or it might not.

Either way, I’m climbing back onto my blog-wagon.

The internet is a marvelous structure. Never before could an average “Joe” speak his mind to the world. My love of writing may never produce a published work, but the internet has allowed me to pursue my love of writing all the same. In a sense, this blog is the fulfillment of my lifelong dream to become a writer. Whether anyone reads it or not is, for the moment, irrelevant.

Certainly, this past year has been a year of turmoil, both public and private. And turmoil is distasteful and difficult to endure. But without turmoil, change is nearly impossible. Turmoil drives us to fix what’s wrong, to seek a better way, to learn and grow, to reinvent ourselves, to figure out what’s really important.

What will 2016 have in store for us? Only God knows. As with every year, it will have both good things and bad, but the key to navigating the waters is knowing the One who knows. I’m trusting in Him. How about you?

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