Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Final Blog for 2015

As I look back on 2015, I am making the conscious choice to focus on the choices that have caused no regret.  It’s a commitment for me, because my mind automatically gravitates to the poor choices.  I never have any problem reminding myself of the dumb things I said and did. 


Here is my list:
·       I was invited to speak at the church where I delivered my first sermon in 1984.  Those kind people asked me to come and deliver a series of lectures I have delivered in several places regarding generational differences.  My mind automatically went back to 1984. They are as kind today as they were then. I am so thankful they invited me. 


·       I returned to Lubbock to attend my 35 year high school reunion.  What a blessing. There are friendships that can be traced back to Evans Junior High School in 1975. The conversations were rich. The time with longtime friends was priceless.


·       I traveled to Racine, Wisconsin, where I attended school through the 7th grade. Those classmates were holding their 35 year high school reunion.  They were gracious enough to include me in the festivities.  Friendships that go back to 1969 were rejuvenated.  New friendships were forged as well.  It was an unforgettable experience.


·       I made my annual trek to a retreat center outside of Chicago for a long weekend of solitude and spiritual renewal.  It was necessary and refreshing.  What a blessing.


·       I was able to continue my graduate level work in mental health counseling this past year.  That process included a weeklong residency on campus in Lubbock. We spent afternoons at the Texas Boys’ Ranch.  What an experience! I learned a lot about myself, as I worked with an 8 year old boy that week.  And I learned that he had been abused in unspeakable ways.  


·       I was able to watch all of three of my boys continue to embrace increased independence, academic success, and growth in their careers.  And I found that the parental observation tower seems to get farther and farther away. Key word is “independence.”

·       I witnessed a lot of change professionally.  Our ministry staff team changed substantially.  I bade goodbye to longtime co-workers and welcomed two new ones. It’s been a really good experience.  In the midst of all that transition, I tried to instigate new professional commitments that would make a difference.


·       There was no shortage of chaplain related call-outs. I continued to learn new things. And I found that my compassion for those in crisis was as pronounced as ever.


·       I officiated at a few weddings.  Those are memorable and of utmost importance.


·       And of course I officiated at a lot of funerals in 2015. That will never be routine.  Every family is unique and worthy of significant attention.


·       I spoke at several special events this past year. That was enjoyable and inspiring.

As I look back over the blessings of 2015, the ones that stand out are relationally oriented. I made new friends this year.  Longtime friendships were deepened. I spent a lot of time with people I love and care about deeply.  I choose to end the year with a thankful spirit.  

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