Today starts a new decade. This affords us an opportunity to reflect not only on the end of the year of twenty-ten, but on the whole first decade ushered in ten years ago by Y2K and all the chaos of a new millennium.
Here's some of what I remember...
In 2000, I graduated from College, turned down a marriage proposal, moved home to hang out with my youngest sister who was in high school, substitute taught, and drove a van-full of stuff to Waco, Texas, where my mother left me with a kiss and a cry.
2001 began my seminary career. I flew to Hawaii for Spring Break (priceline had just been invented) and met up with my aunt and grandparents. With my new friends Lynnette ad Cat, I began attending UBC Waco where I preached my first Sunday morning sermon. I worked at Applebee's for three months and then took a job at Buzzard Billy's. I joined my family in St. Jo again for the summer and joined the chorus of Camelot, the show my dad was directing. Cat and I moved in together on Bagby. 9-11 started off my second semester in seminary, and flying was never the same again.
2002, both my grandparents died within a week of each other. I played Mary Magdalene in Waco Civic Theater's Jesus Christ Superstar. My seminary got a new dean, and i almost quit. Instead I travelled the world with a Missions class and visited England, Morocco, Turkey, Thailand, India and China. I moved in with the Eades that summer. I began dating a drummer that fall and my sister got married in October. I had my first wreck: in Oklahoma, driving back to Texas from a friend's wedding in Missouri. I starred as Anna in The King and I and adopted my first cat, Radley.
2003 I attended my first Emergent Convention and the Dove Awards. I turned 25 and moved home again for the summer to play The Witch in Robidoux Resident Theater's production of Into the Woods. I adopted (or rather, inherited - thanks Jen!) my second cat, Zorba. One of my best friends, Big Phil, moved to Austin and began working at Mosaic which introduced me to both that city and church. The drummer and I broke up, and I bought a new (to me) car.
2004 I graduated from seminary, moved to Austin for a couple months where I volunteered at Mosaic and substitute taught, then moved to St. Joseph, Missouri to be an English/Drama teacher at Savannah High School.
2005 I moved back to Austin, was a permanent substitute at Johnston High School, volunteered again at Mosaic, dated a tattoo-covered republican, moved back to Waco (and back to my old job at the Buzz), dated a bartender, and then moved back again to Austin where I took a job as Pastoral Resident/University Minister at FBC Austin through a CBF Lily Grant. My sister got divorced, my friend and pastor, Kyle Lake, died, and my cat Radley died.
2006 I dated a 19 year old and a 48 year old one right after the other this Spring (neither lasted long). I bought my first house in East Austin. I played Job's Wife in J.B. at church. I dated a lawyer who lived in DC and made my first visit to our nation's capitol. I was ordained by FBC, and officiated my first wedding.
2007 I got a dog. I took a vacation with two friends in West Texas, I produced Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at FBC. My residency ended. The church voted to keep me on as their new Minister to Young Adults and of Creative Discipleship. My car died on the way home for Christmas with my boyfriend that year and I bought a new one to get back to Austin before New Year's.
2008 I oversaw the creation of a Black Box Theater on the 4th floor of FBC and directed my first play (a one-act), Aria Da Capo under the new troupe: Trinity Street Players. Things at church were challenging this year and I went back to therapy. I dated a guy in the Peace Corps and recorded a CD of hymns. My father had a heart attack a few weeks before The Diaries of Adam & Eve opened in which I played Eve. I turned 30.
2009 I led worship at the CBF's Current Retreat and visited Walt Disney World with Julie Merritt and some other pastoral friends. I attended my first JoPa convention and got to speak with Jurgen Moltmann on a panel in Chicago (where I also visited my sister, Amy). I organized a Mission trip to Chile for my college students at church. I played Shelby in Steel Magnolias that summer. I dated a guy who lived in LA and flew out there for vacation that year. I watched two babies being born (both "natural" births) that year, and on Fridays, I babysat Chris & Michelle's daughter, Laurel.
2010 I directed my second show, You Can't Take It With You. My neighbor and adopted "mom" died. I played Luisa in The Fantasticks during the summer. I also attended the Baptist World Alliance in Hawaii, and stayed an extra week to vacation there with my parents, aunt and great-aunt. I quit my job, ran a half-marathon relay at Disney World, and began nannying part time for my friend Bethany who got cancer. I dated one of the other actors who had been in The Fantasticks. I began auditioning for shows all over Austin and was cast as Eva Peron in Evita at the Georgetown Palace.
Most of my life's recap consists of men I dated, pets I mothered, places I vacationed, roles I played, and conferences I attended. I don't know, I guess that's what my life is.
If you want to know how many funerals I attended in the last decade, I can promise you it's more than the average 32 year old could claim. Kyle Lake (my friend), Chip Conyers (my professor), Ruth Ann Foster (my professor), Mike Rudd (my ex-boyfriend), Tommie & Nicey Bedford (my neighbors), Jonathan Norman (my student), and the list goes on and on... Same for weddings. Singing, officiating or being a bridesmaid in an average of probably 5 weddings a year... And the babies that showed up starting in 2009? Well, quite frankly, I lost track. But those are all things that go on other people's lists. Not mine. Not my death, not my wedding, not my baby.
I've not written down how many sermons I've preached, or shelters I've volunteered at, or worship services I led, or people I counseled. This isn't my resume, it's a list of experiences... of seasons in my life. You won't find the movies I watched, or the books I read, the shows I saw, or the wine I drank because there isn't enough time or space, and really who cares? Reflecting is a time for highlighting. Singling out. Seeing patterns. And breaking molds.
The cast of Rent asks "the question" of us and offers some of the nineties' (remember that decade leading up to Y2K?) suggestions on how we measure life...
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights
In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In truths that she learned,
Or in times that he cried.
In bridges he burned,
Or the way that she died.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure the life
Of a woman or a man?
How about love? Measure in love
Seasons of love. Seasons of love
And while I don't measure life in cups of coffee (I don't even drink coffee), neither do I measure it in beer bottles, slimfast or cartons of fat free milk. I do think it's measured in love. Love of people and love of what you do, coupled with love of God and loving yourself, whom God created. There's no time (and you've no interest) to hear the in depth version of my last decade, so listen instead to this beautiful song and reflect on the seasons in your life... and of course Happy New Year. Happy 2011 and good luck with your next decade...