A Year in the Life (2019 in Review)

"For the eye sees not itself, but by reflection, by some other things.” 
Wm. Shakespeare
This year was quieter than many recent ones, but still unusually blessed, it seems to me. I didn't do any international traveling, but Audrey had several overseas trips. We did vacation in Daytona Beach and Austin, TX (where John Mark and Daniela live now). Mostly I concentrated on my ministry here at First Baptist, my 14th year as pastor.

There were 13 funerals, and I participated in 5 weddings. I preached several series of sermons: Have A Blessed Day, Here's Your Sign, Basic Christianity, This Is Us, Miracles of Christmas, and a few stand-alone messages, too.

I was invited back to Dover Shores in Orlando for their 70th anniversary, and to Mount Hermon in Danville for their 175th. I preached twice at this year's state convention and was well-received there. I was a guest lecturer at Leland Seminary, and spoke at GreenSpring and for a special service of remembrance at the Jefferson Funeral Home.

Some counseling, visitation, and committee meetings rounded out my weekly schedule.

WHEN HISTORY WAS MADE: At Nats Park when we clinched the pennant, 10/15
TIPPING THE SCALES: Started a diet, eventually losing 20 lbs, 2/6 (Update: I gained back 10 pounds)
A NEAR TRAGEDY: Audrey's father in a serious traffic accident, 7/19 (He has recovered nicely)
MOST CHALLENGING NON-FICTION: The Second Mountain by David Brooks (I met the author on 5/28)
DUST AND DREAMS: A year of major building renovation
"ALL THE WAY": Touring the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, TX, 5/21
A DECENT DOCENT: Leading several tours through our building project, 11/23
BIBLE STUDY AND A FIRE DRILL: At the White House, The VP's office, 12/4
FAVORITE TV: Bluff City Law, Monday nights on NBC
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Carter Elliff in Newsies, 5/9
CINDERELLA STORY: Watching every inning of World Series (on TV) in October
KENNEDY CENTER HONOR: Sitting in box beside Vice- President Pence for Brian Regan show, 3/22
DIPLOMACY: A long and thoughtful conversation with 2 Palestinian- American Muslim teens, 4/5
WELCOMING LINDSEY PAULSEN: My great new assistant begins her work, 4/29
CABINET MEETING: Chatting with Jeff Sessions and Ben Carson, 4/30 and meeting John Bolton, 6/14
AT THE END OF THE DAY: Les Mis at West Springfield HS, 5/11
MOST RIVETING READ: Where the Crawdads Sing, a novel by Delia Owens
STARTING EARLY: Christmas show opening night at Sight and Sound Theatres, Lancaster, PA, 11/1
"LEND ME YOUR EARS”: Seeing Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in Staunton, 8/2
CHURCH WITHOUT WALLS: On King Street, but also the big community event in Arlandria, 4/13
FAVORITE NEW SONG: Lauren (Go with God) by Ken Medema
MONROE DOMICILE: A family wedding at Ash Lawn, near Charlottesville, 9/7
"IT'S UP TO YOUR KNEES OUT THERE": 8 to 10 inches of snow, 1/13
BEST FILM: Little Women, 12/28
STILL REMEMBERED IN FARMVILLE: By Michelle, a child in my first church, 8/1
SCOOT OVER: Riding an electric scooter on Austin sidewalk without incident, 5/20
"COME FLY WITH ME": Sharing Christ with Steve, a convicted murderer, on flight to Daytona Beach, 3/24
TELL IT TO THE JUDGE: “I so vividly do not remember,” Governor Northam, 2/2

Of course, I do remember all of these days and experiences because I kept a meticulous diary every day this past year-- and have done so for decades by now. It's a great way to account for my time on earth and to savor special moments that I do not want to forget. I encourage you to do the same in 2020. When I open and re-read my journal I sometimes think of what William Faulkner once wrote:  "The past is never dead. It's not even past.”
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