Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

In the last few hours of 2009, I am trying to put the year in perspective so I can look forward to what God might do in 2010. So permit me to wax introspective for a moment or two. After all, this is a blog that promises to help people understand "a pastor's life." So I'll share what this year was like personally.

Personally this has been a roller coaster year.

Finishing my Masters was definitely a highlight. Rockbridge Seminary was perhaps the best educational experience I have ever had. If I could figure out a way to pay for another degree there, I'd be after it. Practical but ever challenging is the way I'd describe the experience. I continue to benefit from the tools I acquired there.

The continued decline and eventual passing of Bunny's mother overshadowed almost everything this year. In my heart I had been preparing for the challenge of helping my beloved wife through this for years. I have never known anyone as close in a mother - daughter relationship than Bunny and Dot were. They were like the two sides of a page at times. They really enjoyed each other's company and treasured the time they spent together whether it was in person, on the phone,or via video cam. Dot's illness, confinement to hospitals and nursing homes, and the last few weeks at home were overwhelming. We gave everything we had at every opportunity to try and get her well, then to just be there for her and for Curtis. But in the end, the disease won. Bunny's grief was so deep  for so long - and continues to this day. Yet her faith in the power of the resurrection has given her a source of strength and constant hope that her mother is whole and in the presence of Christ.

There were still many shocks and aftershocks from my own Father's death and the probate battle that I'd just as soon not even mention them. Every time I thought the impact was over, something else happened. The takeaway from all of it for me? I cannot trust in any provider save one - Almighty God. What I had counted as secure was taken again and again. So it goes. Our trust for each day, and for all the days to come has to be in Christ.

Then our great friend and companion Henley the Dane fell ill in May and we almost lost him to an infection. We had known that at 7, he was reaching the end years,but that battle almost cost us his company. We enjoyed a few more months with him, and then in October lost him to bone cancer. It broke my heart. It's hard to adequately describe just how much Henley meant to me and Bunny. He was our stress sponge and our constant source of encouragement and joy. To go through the first trial with him was awful, but then to see him in pain and have to end his life to spare him agony was just heart rending. We still tear up to this day looking at his picture and talk about him every day. He was so much more than a dog.

A few weeks ago we were blessed to adopt two Airedales that we named Mick and Stevie. They are a hoot!  We're adjusting to their odd ways of doing things and their boundless energy. That is, except when they are sleeping, like they are now. :) They are not Henley. But no dog would have been, and they are pretty special. They've come a long way in a short period of time toward becoming our companions and forever friends.

I think I can speak for Bunny too when I say that we have grown in our love for Jesus this year, and in our desire to do more of what makes Him smile. The people we've met, the books we've read, the events we've participated in have all conspired to bring a real sense of anticipation about what God might have for us in 2010.

Well, that's not everything, but I've already imposed too much on you. Shalom and blessings for a Christ filled 2010.

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