"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans." - Robert Francis Kennedy
Is anyone proud to be an American anymore? I'm not really sure. Well, I am sure. There are the John McCains and the Nolan Ryans and the Sally Rides who are sure proud to be American. Heaven knows Sarah Palin is proud to be an American. (insert fake accent here.)
I selfishly cannot wait to share with the cyberworld and the five readers of this silly "blog" the adventures I encountered over Christmas break. The conversations about death and Heaven, my near arrest while wearing footsie pajamas, my mom's kidney infection, Colorado, and good times with grand and great-grandparents.
But first I feel it is necessary to say Happy New Year. 2009 is sure to be better than 2008, because every year we live is the best year ever, right? I hope so. I don't want to find myself looking back at a year, gripping the handles of my wheelchair, saying in a croaky voice "Well, gee, I sure do wish I could re-live 2017. That was the year..."
No. We are on this earth for a purpose, and a short time at that, and we are called to move forward.
Paul told the Philippians: "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13b-14, NIV)
In America, the economy has taken a stab in the neck. Jobs are eluding qualified people, young and old. Murders run loose in the street and numerous governors/politicians are corrupt. People are going hungry in America and abroad every single day.
On the home front, we face a year without the life and smile of Jay Chenoweth. My grandfather's Alzheimer's is advancing. My brother and I cannot seem to be in the same room as each other for more than 30 minutes without someone yelling hurtful things.
But, a new year is here rather we are ready to tackle it or not, rather it has an obvious sunny shine to it or not.
However-I cannot count my blessings on my two hands. I cannot count my blessings on 100 hands! I met the President, interned at the White House, moved to a new city without any huge hiccup. I graduated from college. (WEIRD) I'm moving back to Texas and some one's going to give me a certificate to teach young minds. My parents are, for the large part, in excellent health. My mom's parents AND grandparents are still alive and doing GREAT. My grandfather survived a massive stroke this fall. I have grown closer to old and new friends and clearly see God through their presence in my life. I found an amazing church in DC and will miss its message and beautiful music immensely. God became more real to me as almost everyday of 2008 passed. Another year went by and I still consider my parents at the top of my list of closest friends and confidantes on the planet. I know that Tom & Cathy are two of the biggest things I take for granted in this world. And, our dog, Sam, finished his 13 great years on earth.
I think 2009 will have a lot to smile about. The last night of 2008 was the strangest News Years Eve of my life. But that doesn't mean that I'm not blessed for the next breath I take, the next year I will live, and - I'm blessed to know that there is a mighty God who is in charge of the joy and sadness in life. Every now and then, a hard rain falls. A good man dies too young. A family hurts. But, we hold tight as the flood waters recede and the dawn breaks.
Thank goodness the dawn of a new year has already broken. Here's to running forward during the next 365 days and living life to the fullest. And here's to being proud of the red, white & blue.