Listen, it’s been an odd year.
Let me give you an example: Thirteen months ago, I was just a church janitor. Then I unexpectedly got a job roasting coffee. Not long after that, I started getting paid to bake pies. Think about that for a minute. I went from janitor to pie baker with just a half-step in between. No training, no experience, just: “Hey Tom, I hear you bake pies. How about I pay you to do that?” As the year progressed, I picked up four new jobs, and turned down two others. Meanwhile, my hours as a janitor got cut to part time, and eventually went away completely, (I was very disquieted about the former, and very relieved at the latter). One job fell by the wayside when I made the long overdue decision to return to school. Then I dropped another one halfway through the semester when my wife kindly helped me to realize that my schedule was killing me. This sketch of my newly expanded resume is just an illustration of the way things went this year. Tumultuous. Tempestuous.
Friends came and went. Hopes were dashed and renewed. I took up sewing. I stopped writing stories. My dogs went to a new home. I went to school, and I sincerely enjoyed it. I was driven unequivocally from my comfort zone. Nothing went as planned or expected. It was horrible, but it was beautiful. Everything happened because I needed it to happen.
And at the end of this year, I find it necessary to apologize. I am sorry for my erratic and selfish behavior. I did a lot of thrashing and shouting this year. I’m sorry for including all of you in that.
And I am thankful. Thank you for letting me go. Thank you for holding tightly onto me. Thank you for indulging in my weakness. Thank you for refusing to participate in my foolishness. Thank you to those who doubted me and turned their backs. Thank you to those who believed. Thank you for second chances, for third chances, for thousandth chances. Thanks for listening, thanks for telling. Thanks for all the prayers you said for me. Thank you for your time and your love.
If anyone is interested in a retrospective tour, these were, statistically speaking, my top nine posts from the strangest year I’ve experienced so far:
• I’m a fan of new words. I’m not much of a fan of modified or misused words that are supposed to mean something slightly different than their intended definitions. I know it’s foolish to try to resist the tide of change. But can we please stop with awesomeness, and especially ginormous? Please?
• Video games are a good activity when you are stressed. Giving your son a haircut is not.
• Is it just me, or has anybody else noticed that a high percentage of Harley Davidson owners are terrible motorcyclists?
• The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult. – Proverbs 12:16
• I somewhat recently changed my Facebook name from Tom, to Tommy. This was not an indication of preference on my part, but more a reflection of most common usage. I answer, or have answered, to Tom, Thom, Tommy, Thomas, Yamas, Tamas, Tommikam, Dad, Frank, and Mike, (the last three from Crossroads School students). My preference is that you call me whatever you have always called me.
• If you borrow something, put it back where you got it. I don’t have many pet peeves, but missing tools are infuriating.
• Never throw a stale chocolate-chip cookie into the trash. Throw it into a blender with some ice cream and a little milk instead.
• Behold! 4,800 lbs of coffee!
• I am fascinated by the kind of things that other people are interested in. Somewhere, somebody is quite informed, and has a very strong opinion about the proper arrangement of their moth collection.
• God breaks a lot of beautiful things. It’s a process, and it is his right. It makes our hearts howl and our minds doubt, but oftentimes he does it in order to make room for something even better.