December 29. Prompt. Defining Moment: Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.
Emma Thompson’s character Karen Eiffel (played by the brilliant Emma Thompson) says this about defining moments in the final scenes of the 2006 film Stranger Than Fiction:
“As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren’t any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives.”
The defining moments, the series of events, the “things, the nuances” that affected my life this year and have helped me embrace my identity as a husband, dad, pastor and full-fledged 30-something adult (in no particular order) are:
My father-in-law’s intense battle with Merkle cell cancer
My mom’s successful surgery to remove two tumors from her pancreas
My father’s ongoing struggle with mental health issues
Our cat Dylan’s off-and-on health problems
Katie at 2 and a half–her ability to communicate in full sentences; to understand basic concepts like Christmas, animals, safety, drawing & painting, playing, picking-up toys, brushing teeth, taking a bath; to develop memory and remembering experiences; to express her feelings; to interact with family and friends, etc.
My monthly sessions with a pastoral counselor at Care and Counseling Center of Georgia
Mine and Elizabeth’s monthly sessions with a different pastoral counselor at CCG to learn healthy ways to cope with the pressure and strain that a 2-year-old, ailing parents, full-time ministry (Andy) and full-time graduate school in social work (Elizabeth) puts on our marriage.
Summer youth conferences and mission trips
The Adult International Mission Trip to Haiti
Youth Sunday, February 7, 2010
Serving as an associate pastor for Youth Ministry and Mission & Outreach; leading worship and providing care to various members who have opened up their lives and shared their joys and sorrows with me.
Mine and Elizabeth’s 6th Wedding Anniversary on April 3, 2010
Visits and gatherings with family and close friends
Every day that I wake up, swing my legs out of the bed and put my feet on the floor