Today is the last day of the year. I'm a little bit of a reflective person, I guess. I always like the end of things, because I think it's fun to be able to think about how things used to be and what's happened since then and how stuff has changed and where everything is going. For example, at the end of a sports season, I love when they show the montage videos of all the different big plays from the year. And so, as 2008 comes to a close, I think it's somewhat important to look back on what the year has brought. However, I guess each year means different things to different people, so what defines 2008 for me is obviously going to be different that what it was to you. And since I am only myself, I can only write intelligently write about my own life. So I might be the only one who cares about anything that follows, but that's okay. They say writing is therapeutic. And I'm in pretty bad shape, so I probably need all the therapy I can get.
One thing that I'll remember about 2008 are all the little random trips that I went on. Outside of the summer, I didn't go anywhere too crazy, but there were a few new experiences that were interesting enough. For example, there were the two trips to Tulsa: to help at CIY Believe in February and to go to the National Missionary Convention in November. Or there was my trip to Buffalo NY over spring break (and an afternoon trek into Canada, eh?). Or there was the October pilgrimage to Albuquerque, where I got to see all kinds of balloons and have kind of crazy reaction to a big burrito.
2008 was also a year of personal records. For example, I think I attended three weddings, which I imagine is the most I've ever done. I also went to Starbucks four times, which is the most I ever have in year (Because I really don't like coffee that much). I also think I probably logged more miles on the road traveling from place to place than any other year of my life. So Michael Phelps and I will both remember this last year for our record-breaking performances.
Unfortunately, I may remember 2008 for certain periods of intense physical pain. Last May, I was enjoying a nice, friendly game of softball with some of my fellow Ozark students. Everyone was having a great time. After I hit another crushing line drive to the outfield, I was standing on first base. When the next batter hit a ground ball up the middle, I took off for second. Ryan Hicks, who was playing shortstop, scooped up the ball and hurled it to first. Unfortunately for me, I happened to be in between him and the ball's destination, and it slammed into my left side, creating an instant welt. (There's pictures on facebook. It's actually pretty cool looking). At the time, I believed that was the worst pain I had ever felt before. And then December came. I was in the gym playing a game of pickup basketball that came down to the wire. I was guarding Charlie Landis, and even though he's not very good, I figured I should guard him pretty close just in case. He received a pass and looked like he was about to put up a game-winning three-pointer, so I jumped to block it. Much to my dismay, he did not actually shoot the ball, but dribbled to my right. When I landed from my leap and attempted to change direction to get back in front of him, my body decided that would be fine time to stop supporting itself, and I tumbled to the floor. After painfully hobbling around campus for a few days, I learned that I had a torn meniscus in my knee. And that, my friends, is not much fun. (Here's the irony: Not long before that softball game, Ryan Hicks broke a rib and punctured a lung, which I occasionally made fun of him for. In return, he nearly broke my rib by targeting me with the softball. In high school, Charlie tore his ACL, which I also made fun of from time to time, three years later he took his revenge and gave me a knee injury. Lesson learned: don't make fun of people when they're down, because they will mess you up.)
A big change in my life came in October, when my sister got married. I've already written all about that, so I won't go into it much here. But thankfully, things there have not really changed negatively, and we're still tight and I have a pretty excellent new brother-in-law. It does mean I have to buy one more present at Christmastime, but I guess I can live with that.
2008 also marks the founding of "A Chicken in a Cage with a Ferret"! And I'm confident that w'ere all grateful for that.
Probably the most significant experience in my life in 2008 was the summer, when I worked on Ozark's camp teams. Again, I've already written about all that, so you can check out my posts from July and August if you want. But being on camp teams was definitely one of the best things I have ever done. I learned a ton about God and ministry, I got to travel to some new places that I liked a lot, I met a bunch of awesome people all over the country, and I made some phenomenal friends.
So that's 2008. Of course, there's all kinds of other things scattered in there. The basketball and baseball games and the concerts and the Waffle House experience and the Chick-fil-A and Spangles trips and the Nertz games and everything else. It was a good year. Often frustrating, but also often awesome. It'll be nice to see what 2009 brings. I'll be turning 21, so I guess it's about time I grew up one of these days. And I'll hopefully be doing some type of internship this summer, and with luck I won't discover that I can't hack it in ministry. I look forward to making new friends and strengthening relationships with current friends and growing closer to God.
However, it's hard to be very confident about any New Year that will begin with me hanging out with the Landises.