Thank You 2016...Sincerely

Popular opinion is that 2016 was a terrible year. I think most of that has to do with the recent, seemingly daily, celebrity deaths and the election of a reality television show celebrity to the Oval Office. I get the idea of how terrible a year it has been. But did anything happen to anyone that was happy? Why does it seem that people I come across on social media, no one wants to celebrate? I'm not sure what will happen once the calendar flips to 2017,  but here is my quick reflection on a year full of activity and to say to 2016: thank you. 

I turned 40 early in 2016. I launched a personal prayer project that frankly needs some tending to right now. I began CrossFit.  I moved three times in 2016. I moved from Raleigh to Baltimore, with a move out of DC to Baltimore, to the suburbs of Baltimore. 

I fell in love. I had a girlfriend, and I got dumped. All of this happened in like a week. 

I got promoted twice. I received a year-end holiday bonus. 

I paid off a long-standing, high-balance carrying, credit card. I also reduced my debt in half from 2015. 

I ran a ten miler in the spring, and followed it up with a half-marathon in the fall. I set a personal record with that race. 

In November I attended a silent religious retreat; the third straight year I have done so.

I took two photography classes. I bought a lot of art supplies and turned some of it into art. I also bought a lot of art in April. I wrote 27 entries on my website. I have set up a weekly email where I talk about what I have written, read and what I am working on. I have a basic outline, content, and research to write my paper on anger. I hope to complete that in 2017. 

I went to two amusement parks (Bush Gardens and Kings Dominion) this year. I spent a week at the beach in Bethany and returned to Rehobeth for Thanksgiving. I cooked pulled pork (Eastern North Carolina style) twice.  

I saw the Indians return to the World Series and take a 3-1 lead. I also saw them lose the World Series 4-3. To the Chicago Cubs. I saw Xavier lose on a last second shot in the NCAA tournament and get knocked out in the opening weekend. 

I pulled my hamstring; badly. I opened then closed out a storage unit. I bought two bookshelves that are two different colors. I bought about 25 books on Jesus and I still haven't finished Mere Christianity.

I went to confession three times, matching the number of times I recieved this sacrament in the past three years combined. I became a Lector and Eucharistic Minister in my church. I did both and added the job of alter server on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.   

I read the Gospel of Mark. I learned it's only 16 chapters. I attended Bible study and learned about the book of Genesis and the prophet Jeremiah. I added more prayer to my life.

I attended the symphony and I bought a grill. 

I learned that increasing fats can help me lose weight. I understand more that I will never be in the perfect place, at the perfect time, for the perfect relationship to come along and make everything from here on forward perfect. Three exes got married in 2016. 

I learned you can still cry into your 40's and not feel ashamed. I learned a friend of mine from college that I haven't spoken to in years died after a short battle with cancer. I learned that dealing with death gets easier a year later. 

I spent 129 hours listening to 2,019 songs on Pandora in 2016. I would venture to guess that the majority of these songs occurred during Christmas. 

2016 taught me many things. Mostly it reminded me that my life is good. I feel like it's headed in the right direction. The successes and failures of 2016 are usually based on the decisions and actions taken years before, so my hope is I spent most of 2016 working in a positive way. Really my hope is that I continue to get closer to God, to understand Jesus better, and recognize His interactions with me through the Holy Spirit. 

‘We will finally recognize that all the genuine, unconditional love we experienced here on earth through our families, spouses, and friends was just a foretaste of the divine communion - that it was always Him.
— C.S Lewis

Amen. Pray for those who have died, and do more for those in need. 

So thank you 2016. It's onward to 2017!