I'm glad to see the backside of 2011. There have been good things about the year, and there have been some very unpleasant things about it. (In other words, it was another year of life, lived.)
So below are random thoughts from a chaotic mind on how 2011 summed up:
Out of the Mouths of Babes:
"Jesus has a lock on you."
One of my junior highers in Sunday School uttered these greatest words of wisdom for 2011. A perfect reminder that if we know Him as our Lord and Savior, nothing can snatch us from His hand (a lesson I sometimes forget).
The Power of Video and YouTube:
Expressed in 2 significant ways this year. One was the viral video of Micah the laughing baby which you can see here:
I'm not one for oohing and aahing over babies, but you'd have to be dead not to be affected by Micah's infectious laughter.
The other was the powerful video of the Federal Express delivery guy ending his career with one toss of a box:
The first video, a reminder to enjoy life's simple pleasures. The second, an equally powerful reminder that the decisions we make every day, even the seemingly small ones, can have a significant impact on ourselves and others.
Just as E-readers are opening opportunities for readers, the fact that it is becoming easier for the average Joe to have filming opportunities is an exciting development in technology. I'll get to my 35mm camera lament a little further down, but one of the exciting aspects of digital photography is being able to shoot short video as well.
The Benefits and Liabilities of Technological Advances:
E-Readers: Having a Kindle has transformed my reading life and made books more affordable. I've downloaded about 275+ books this year. I didn't even top 10 books purchased last year. E-readers make it possible to put more books at your fingertips.
Online Classes: I took my first online classes this year which made it possible for me to continue my education in a way that is more suitable to my hectic lifestyle. I wish the option had been open to me years ago. I think some classes are still more conducive to an in-class setting, but wherever possible, I'm going for the online version.
Grieving the loss of 35mm photography. One of the biggest shockers of the year for me was going to get four rolls of 35mm film developed and 1) finding how difficult it was to FIND anyone who developed 35mm film still and 2) how ultra-expensive it was to develop 35mm film, thereby forcing me to send my beloved Canon EOS Rebel 35mm SLR into retirement. Not only that, I now must begin the lengthy education process on digital photography and searching for a digital camera. I am sure I will love digital photography once I get used to it, but I am very grieved to let my 35mm SLR go.
Grief and Suffering:-
There has been a phenomenal amount of suffering seen in the steep increase in behavioral health care sought out this year as opposed to previous years I've been in the field. There are a lot of people who are really hurting, and it's manifesting itself physically and mentally.
- There are a lot of people without jobs, and a lot of people trapped in jobs they feel powerless to get out of. Both scenarios are painful.
- A Downer Christmas 2011: We close the door on Christmas 2011 with suffering and heartache--a loss in the church family, and the equally sudden and unexpected loss of a friend and crit partner, leaving both families with grief for Christmas, not smiles and celebration.
Best Good Guys Win Moment:
After the years of terrorism and warfare, it was a great shot in the arm as Navy SEALs and others took out Osama Bin Laden on May 1st of this year. Nope, it doesn't end terrorism, and he was just one fish in the sea, but Americans needed some small form of closure to all the pain and suffering caused by the 9/11 attacks.
Best Fictional Moment of 2011:
The best fictional moment of 2011 did not come from a book. It came from film and it was so inspirational to me that it gave me the impetus to keep fighting forward in 2012 with my writing. That would be the final 3-4 minutes of episode 2.10 of Hawaii Five-0. Team and buddy stories are my ultimate favorite, and this helicopter scene was just about pure perfection. Comraderie, team spirit, striving for a greater good, making sacrifices--this short scene had it all and will be one of the best of the entire series and one of the best in all television period.
Oh I love it when you see something so powerful it becomes a great and deep well for you to draw from!
Most Surprising Progress:
Though the year has felt non-productive from a creative standpoint, I was surprised to learn I'd written nearly 125,000 words this year. Which is a reminder God is faithful, even when day to day I act like He's not. It's also a reminder to keep plunking down words on paper, even if you feel like your wheels are spinning.
What does it mean to note these highlights of 2011? Maybe just to say it was another year in the life of fallible human beings. Victories. Defeats. And sprinkles of good and bad things that fell somewhere in between.
May we learn from our past and move forward into 2012 determined to be the people God has called us to be.