2013, for the most part, had been a pretty routine, even humdrum year. When I think back on it, I recall many long hours of work. The summer, typically quieter as the snowbirds return to their nests in Long Island and Montreal, never really slowed.
I took a trip to California in April for the annual audiology convention. But no other exotic weeks away. There was a weekend in Orlando to see my cousin's daughter's lacrosse tournament. And a week later I did go to New Jersey for Thanksgiving, possibly the best one I ever had. Amazing time with family, incredible food. The weather was perfection: lows in the 20s, highs in the 30s, sunny, no wind chill to speak of. I found myself tossing a football on a back lawn, watching snow flurries land on my jacket. Big moment for a Florida boy. It was beyond the Norman Rockwell or Ansel Adams storybook image you're getting, for reasons I've yet to disclose on this blog.
My grandmother turned 100 years old in October. That's big. We brought her balloons and goodies to her facility, where she was treated like royalty. A week later, we had her to our apartment, where she was joined by a few friends, including a lovely woman whose mother had lived 2 units down from grandma. 100 years. Can't fathom it. Neither could she, in some moments. She remains faithful in giving the credit to her Lord. And she's not afraid to tell you.
My mother's predicament has not changed. Very peak and valley kind of year. Complicated subject. I realize some sort of tough love intervention may be necessary, but exactly what that is is a mystery. She's on a slow track to permanent residence in a dreary nursing home, not the way to live out one's days. I pray for wisdom in 2014.
So yes, business as usual. Until December. I reported for jury duty, the fifth or so time in 6 years. I was picked for a drug case back in '07 and again this year, a really unpleasant criminal case that I'd rather not recount. I've explained it to so many people in the past weeks I almost feel a permanent film has coated my soul. But the verdict was correct (I feel) and unanimous without battle. I served with six other wonderful folks, one of whom I got to know during the lengthy (2 day) voir dire. She admitted to me that she had prayed that I would get picked if she did! Thanks! But the experience was certainly memorable. I pray for the defendant, about whom I recently learned more really unsavory details.
December also saw some bad luck for my work colleague, who slipped and broke her hand on her way to work. She's on the mend, but her absence continues to put me behind as I cover for her (and see my own patients, many of whom were rescheduled due to my week of being out for my civic duty). I pray for her healing.
Speaking of prayer, Lamplight Drivel readers may know that I've been in an intercessory prayer group at church for several years. This year, I drifted away. It just sort of happened. The group leader had to resign due to many other commitments and without someone coordinating the schedule and reminders, it was very easy to just let it go. And you know, it was time. That may sound callous. I don't discount the importance of the ministry, and it helped me in my own personal prayer life immeasurably, but I felt that it was time to move on. I was also a little bothered that our church seemed to relegate our tiny group to the margins. Quite literally - we lost our back rooms to coils of microphone cords and speaker stacks, left to park our folding chairs either on the outside breezeways or even in a storage closet! My partner and I continued to be faithful once a month, but I felt my spirit and attention wandering. A new coordinator called me a few months later, but my decision had been made.
Church attendance also suffered this past year for us. This is a most complicated topic that I might take on in a future post. That doesn't mean my faith has followed suit.
So there are some highlights of the year that is soon to join all the other previous ones, to take its spot among its elders. They will have much to talk about. Happy New Year.