Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What a Year! Reflecting on 2009

On Monday of this week Amy, Hannah, and I flew from the deep freeze of Florida to the deep freeze of Minnesota. Guess which one is colder? While on vacation I had a chance to reflect on the past year. 2009 was the most eventful year I’ve experienced since 2000. I didn’t think I would ever have another year where more significant events happened than 2000. During those days I was married, oversaw the ground breaking of a million dollar church building in Plainview, learned how to do church while our building was under construction, was investigated by the Presbytery, and then held Hannah in my arms for the first time shortly after she entered the world.

2009 rivaled all of that. The best way I can communicate the intensity of 2009 is to share some moments. In the future when I look back at 2009 I will remember the following moments—shared in chronological order:

Holding the lifeless hand in January of my childhood friend Jeff Gravon at Methodist Hospital shortly after he died. Jeff was a close, childhood friend. I knew him since the second grade and connected with him during many chapters of his life. Amy & I spent a lot of time with him. We watched Jeff battle his cancer until the end of his life and journeyed with him during his battle. His battle with cancer attracted the attention of the local media. I had the privilege of officiating at both of his funeral services. I was deeply touched by how his New Prague basketball team responded to his death. I shared some thoughts about this in a March 26 blog called, “Play Like Champions.”

Shaking hands with the people at Community Presbyterian Church in February as they departed the sanctuary at the last worship I led. With Amy & Hannah standing beside me we hugged everyone who lined up to say “good bye.” The emotion was overwhelming. Everyone was crying—including me. I hadn’t intended for this final service to be so emotional, but I learned a long time ago that when the Spirit is working we might as well go with what happens.

My first day of work in February at Chain of Lakes. Seven families attended a Steering Committee meeting that night. They came to check me out—and thankfully all seven families are still participating in our community. I think of these seven families as pioneers. That night I was grateful that I had a group of people with whom I could work.

Receiving the word from Amy in May that the offer that we put on our house in Blaine was accepted. I was (coincidentally??) driving by the house when I received a call on my cell phone from her telling me this news. We love our new house and our new neighborhood.

Watching Amy’s son, Drew and Nikki receive a wedding blessing in October at Pax Christi Church in Rochester. The entire weekend of events went off without a hitch. What a privilege it is to be with family at important times of their life!

Waiting in a lawn chair in our children’s room before our first Sunday worship service in December at Chain of Lakes. I wrote about this in a December 7 blog entitled, “What a Day of Blessings! Praise God!” As I sat in that chair about 45 minutes before the start of worship I was fairly sure we would have some people come to that service, but I had no idea who or how many would come. We ended up with 42 people attending—many more than I had expected. That service was a confirmation for me that God is calling this group of people called Chain of Lakes to a faith community. The energy was fabulous.

What a year!! Thanks be to God for the adventures I experienced during the time period we all call, “2009!”

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