This morning I woke up to a new year.  The neighborhood had turned in last night’s noisy partying for a cloak of quiet to bring in the sunrise.

Welcome, 2018.

I made some coffee, and sat down to think and pray and read and be quieted.

I tried to turn my attention to the new.  But before looking ahead, I glanced back to reflect. Back to 2017.

For me, one word defines 2017: goodbye.  And goodbye is an agonizing word.  It can also be a word that enhances the sweetness of a moment.

It was a year of turning in keys and titles and losing access to web-portals.  It was a year of celebrating friendships over a piece of cheesecake before those opportunities had passed us by.  It was a year of bittersweet.

Social media does a top 9 right now.  Here are some of my tops of 2017:

  • Coming to a decision of peace: Hat Yai would be my next home.
  • The extra-sweet tinge of watching a southern springtime emerge – knowing it would be my last for awhile.
  • Spring break trips to celebrate Joanne’s 30th with Su in the Rockys
  • Biblical Imagination Seminar: The Gospel of Luke
  • Listening to baseball games on long spring nights.
  • Charleston 2.0 with my 8th and 9th graders
  • Barbershop in literature class
  • The poignantly bittersweet final days at FCS
  • Finally becoming an official employee at All In Coffee Shop, short-lived though that stint was
  • Pizza nights at J&Ls when J&S came over too
  • Boxcar children resorts on Lake Erie with sisters and friends
  • Road trip to Ohio with Joe’s kids and Cam
  • Tribe game with nieces and nephews
  • Blue Ridge Parkway in the rain
  • Annie and Mic coming all the way to SC to help me move
  • Playing softball with long-lost cousins in Missouri
  • Two weeks in the Missouri wilderness that touched something deep within my soul
  • Experiencing Ohio in the fall for the first time in 10 years
  • Realizing the dream called Hutchmoot
  • Being witness at the baptism of two nieces and the daughter of dear friends
  • Infinitely difficult but somehow kinda beautiful goodbyes
  • Reuniting with a land I believe God put in my heart to love
  • Looking around at Game Night here in my new city and thinking “I really like these people.”
  • Moving to a cute little place with nice neighbors
  • Singing “Jingle Bells” at a Christmas party and feeling home.

And so many more…

I won’t lie – I look ahead to 2018 and breathe a sigh of relief that this year looks to be more about rooting than uprooting, more about settling in than packing up.  I’m ready for that.

But who are we kidding if we think we know what the year holds.

But I know who holds the year.  Cliché, I know.  But true.  And sometimes it’s the simple truths that get clichéd and then pushed aside as such – it’s those that can give great strength.

Welcome, 2018.

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