It’s that time again – the week after Christmas when all the gifts have been opened and all of the leftovers have been eaten. And somewhere between the visit from Santa Claus and the New Year’s Eve fireworks, I always seem to get a bit nostalgic as I look back and take stock of all the events that have unfolded over the past twelve months. It seems that for me, 2010 has been a year of extremes.
When things were good, they were wonderful. And when they were bad, they were nightmarish. Think Chilean miners and Gulf oil spill. Think Wikileaks, Tiger Woods, mid term elections, and home foreclosures. Think Haitian earthquake and the Winter Olympics. And while all of these events leave their imprint on the collective consciousness of our culture, it is surely the things that happen right here in our own backyard that shape our lives in the indelible way that leaves us changed, for better or worse.
As for me, I got to do a bit of traveling, which I had not been able to do the past couple of years. I visited both coasts – northern California in the West, and New York City in the East. I find it interesting that the two places are not only geographical opposites, but also opposite in nearly every aspect imaginable. California with its breezy attitude of eternal summer and open spaces where the Pacific meets the redwoods, contrasted with the “go, go, go” mentality of the city that never sleeps. Each has its own charm; each has its own drawbacks.
On the home front, I ran a half marathon in 13 degree weather and I finished a triathlon not dead last. I watched my son turn two, grow taller, and learn to outsmart me in more ways than one. I learned that we would be adding one more to our family and spent the latter half of the year growing bigger and getting excited about our new arrival. I have so very many things to be thankful for.
I would be remiss, however, not to mention the incredible loss that myself as well as the entire community suffered when we lost Parker Graves. I suppose for the first time in my life, something that was too terrible to happen, actually happened. The wound is deep and real and permanent. To Nancy, Chuck, Jill, Lillian, Buckley and Nick, you are never far from my prayers.
And then there was the poignant and triumphant story of Madysen Acey, a young girl who touched everyone with her courage and her smile in the midst of her own tragedy. She taught us all a lesson on how to handle life’s adversities with strength and grace. Let’s not forget Riley Berry, the hero who emerged from this tragedy, who in a selfless act of bravery saved a life.
So I guess when I remember 2010, I will look back with sadness for a friend that is gone, I will look forward with hope in the promise of a new life, and I will always remember that heroes are everywhere – even in the darkest of times.