"Happiness is not another place, but this place. Not for another hour, but this hour."
- Walt Whitman
One day seemed to melt into another. Weeks and months were like that, too. I could write this year of Covid off as a disaster but, re-reading my journal just now, I am reminded that there were many moments that rose up and distinguished themselves by sparking joy in my heart.
I conducted 6 weddings and 7 funerals. I participated in 2 military promotions. My preaching during the year began with a series on vision in January. We then covered the Ten Commandments. I did several other series of sermons: What Would You Say?, It's About Time, Crazy Love, Go Fish!, and Jeopardy! One Sunday I preached onboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean, and there was a revival at Bon Air Baptist of Richmond in October.
For relaxation there were trips to Lancaster, PA, and Daytona Beach, FL.
Yes, it was a tough year, having to make decisions about cancelling and then starting in-person worship, and the enforcement of pandemic protocols - nothing that seminary or past experiences prepared me for. Without our excellent staff at FBCA, and the commitment and patience of our membership, we could not have made it as well as we did.
In late October, I completed 15 years as pastor of our church.
MOST OFTEN HEARD SENTENCE: "You're on Mute"
SECOND MOST OFTEN HEARD SENTENCE: "Mute Yourself"
FAVORITE BOOK: The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson
LIKE COTTON CANDY: Slipping over to DC to see the cherry blossoms, 3/20
“IT SEEMS WE’VE STOOD AND TALKED LIKE THIS BEFORE:” surprise re-enactment of our first date as a Valentine's gift to Audrey, 2/14
SPECIAL GUESTS: Vice-President Mike Pence and his wife worship with us again, 2/16
PINCH ME: Our first service in the newly renovated and beautiful sanctuary, 10/25
MOST CAPITIVATING CINEMA: Just Mercy, 2/9
MORE MOVIES: Watching with friends in the church parking lot, 9/4, 11/6
LIKE LIVING IN A MOVIE: This year was reminiscent of Bill Murray's Groundhog Day
KEEP IT MOVING: Drive-by birthdays, graduate recognition, and a prom in the Spring
“THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE”: Total laryngitis, 3/4-10
EASTER AND THE EMPTY ROOM: But anonymously provided flowered cross, and a great attendance online!, 4/12
BUILDING INSPECTION: Meeting Pastor David Serrant, and seeing what our FBCA men have accomplished on the island of Dominica, 1/27
LAYING A FOUNDATION: Starting a fund of our own in First Baptist's Foundation, 9/14
“TOSSIN’ AND TURNIN’ ALL NIGHT”: Hardly dozing during overnight "Sleep Study", 11/22
BEST UNEXPECTED CONVERSATION: With Ensign Sarah Weinstein, on our deck, 7/14
WALKING THROUGH THE VALLEY: Concentrated prayer for the Graveson boys, May-June
THOUSANDS JOINING US FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Including a prayer meeting at St Peter's Church, Oundle, UK, 5/11
NOW WISH I HAD INVESTED IN THE COMPANY: ZOOM
FAVORITE LUNCH PLACE: Palette 22 in Shirlington (Southwest Chicken Ceasar Salad)
"THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES”: A surprise phone call from a group of now middle-aged adults who were teens in our Orlando church. Then, Wayne Chapman dropped in for a visit, too. It's so nice to be remembered, 1/31 & 2/9
BEST BINGE WATCHING: The West Wing on Netflix—Fall and Winter
TOURING THE RESIDENCE: Seeing decorations at the White House, 12/22
PLEASANT SURPRISE: Enjoying San Juan, Puerto Rico, with our guide, Julia, 1/22
"LEAVING ON A JET PLANE”: Audrey and her mission team catch one of the last flights out of Austria before everything shuts down, 3/11
Journal keeping helps me to save and savor the special moments of my life. I commend the practice to you in 2021. William Faulkner wrote: "The past is never dead. It's not even past.” And with these volumes, a record of every year of my adult life, the past will always live on.
I love reading everything you write. The "Zoom" reference made me laugh. I'm somewhat disappointed that I did not make the "end of the year" cut this time. Have to figure out some way of getting to FBC-A and worming my way into your consciousness in 2021. That way, 12 months from now, you will say: "Most surprising visitors: Elvis and Joe McKeever."