So last weekend, in a frenzy to try to get out my Christmas cards (I got about half of them out–typical for me!), I decided that I needed to write a “short” Christmas letter. I’m posting it here, because . . . well, I guess because I do know that my friends will still love me no matter HOW many times I tell the same stories over and over . . . plus, in case you missed something, I can include handy hyperlinks that will make you feel like you’re RIGHT THERE experiencing these wonderful moments with me again! oh, I tell you . . . you are all just so lucky to know me! (gag, barf, LOL, snort!)
ANYWAY . . . here goes:
December 22nd, 2007. 11:35am. If I start right now, I can get 45 Christmas cards addressed and ready to go into the mail tonight. Maybe a few of them will even arrive to their destination on time, or at least within a day or two of Christmas. But I know myself. I can’t just sign my name—I have to SAY something. Ah, maybe a “brief” letter, sharing some of the events of the past year.
January—visiting a friend in the psych hospital, and of course one of the patients started flirting with me. True story. His pick-up line was, “They might let me out in a couple of days.” So yes, my dating life is super, thanks for asking! My only hope these days is the cute seminary students that come into my office on occasion . . .
February—I move my blog from Xanga (which just feels too “teeny-bopper” to me) to WordPress. Blogging is increasingly becoming a passion of mine. For the first time in my life, I am writing on a regular schedule.
March—my brother’s dog AJ, whom I have fondly nicknamed “the pig-dog” because of her snorting/rolling-in-the-grass tendencies, needs to be put to sleep. My two strapping 6’1” brothers can’t handle doing the dirty work, so it’s up to their little sister to take her to the death chamber. Poor pig-dog . . . we really do miss her.
April—while randomly wandering the internet, I stumble upon the New York City Teaching Fellows program. Although I enjoy my current job, I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m meant to be doing something “more”, and this program would allow me to work full-time while going to grad school on NYC’s dime. It’s a no-brainer.
May—I travel to NYC for Memorial Day weekend to see my friend Max’s new home in Brooklyn. Because I’m a dork and can’t read street signs, my car is towed. As of this writing, I still owe Max a couple of hundred dollars for bailing me out, and I am (with little luck) still trying to fight the parking ticket that came along with it. Apparently, “I really am that dumb” isn’t a plausible excuse.
June—my alternator dies on my car. Finances are “interesting” these days. I really do like my job (admin asst. for a missions agency), but I need to make more money.
July—the Jena Six hits the blogosphere—or at least, it’s the first I hear of it.
The mainstream news will not catch on for at least another month, though.
Becky, Will and the kids move 2500 miles away (or however many kilometers—stupid Canadia!) to Edmonton, Alberta, where Will is now teaching history and Becky is working in Student Life at a University there (well, a “University College” but that’s just the weirdness of Canadia again.) They take a little piece of my heart along with them. Some days, it feels like I miss their dog most of all . . .
August—I begin a habit of “blogging against racism” every Sunday, in acknowledgement of what Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the most segregated hour of the week.” (Still is, I’m guessing.) Sadly, it is not my activism in this area, but rather, my rant about the creepy Duggar family that pushes my blog stats up to their highest level ever.
September—I receive my passport in three weeks! A minor miracle, it seems.
My six-week ordeal with my first (and hopefully last!) root canal begins.
October—I find a lump in my left shoulder, just above my collarbone. “Dr. Google” convinces me that this is NOT a good thing. I freak out a bit. October is a long, scary month.
November—I’m slightly less worried when the surgeon schedules the removal of what I have now dubbed “El Lumpito” for early December, and tells me that she doesn’t think it’s the lymph node. I travel to NYC on November 17th to interview for the New York City Teaching Fellows program. I’m not prepared enough for the interview—my 5-minute lesson is weak. I later find out (the day before my surgery) that I wasn’t accepted. I plan to try again next year.
December—“El Lumpito” comes out, and proves to be nothing more than what the surgeon suspected it to be—a big glob of fat, a benign tumor known as a “lipoma”.
I spend (probably not enough) time thinking about what it means to have been given a new lease on life. I don’t know whether to act like Pierre in the Maurice Sendak book, who “laughed because he wasn’t dead”, or if I should take this more seriously . . . is there something else, something different, I’m meant to be doing with my life? Stupid Calvin College, stupid Purpose–Driven Life book, or whatever else you want to point the blame at . . . but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m meant for something more. A meaningful, interesting (albeit crappy-paying) job, my anti-racism work in the community and investment in the lives of my friends’ kids, and yet I’m still restless.
Restless, and my Christmas cards are late, my house is a disaster, and I need to do laundry. This last sentence, more than anything else, summarizes my life right now. I am not where I am supposed to be just yet, of that I am sure. But I have come so much farther than I give myself credit for, and I have to admit that I am grateful.
May this holiday season find you grateful to have come to the end of another year, and feeling hopeful about your future.
I wish you many blessings in the year ahead, and pray that the peace of this season will be incredibly real to you now and always . . .