10 Things that mattered in 2019
My friend Duane Bidwell posted his list of “10 things I did That mattered in 2018.” Which got me thinking. And this was actually a very thought - provoking exercise: what really DOES matter? So, for me, here goes:
1) Attended my youngest's graduation from High School and helped her move into college. I think this is THE thing that mattered most in 2018 to Paul and me. Serving time as a dance mom? It mattered that I survived it, otherwise not so much.
2) Led Mission Presbytery through a staffing crisis which began in February and didn't wrap up till November. It mattered a LOT to get the right people into the right places. And that staff team is a big part of the reason why Mission Presbytery is cooking with gas at present.
3) Pulled off a Presbytery meeting, Mission in Mission, which was about 15 months in the planning. Maybe ⅓ of the time was spent doing “typical” Presbytery business. The rest of the time, we fanned out all over Mission, Texas and the Rio Grande Valley to stock food pantries, sort coats, meet residents of colonias, paint daycare centers, talk with mission partners from Indonesia, and so much more. It was just amazing.
4) Took my first-ever two week vacation with Paul. That needs to happen again. We had one fancy dinner, connected with beloved family, met cousins we never knew we had, read a book together, and discovered we still like each other. THAT mattered.
5) I voted, spoke up, and spoke out. Took part in a march in the Rio Grande Valley related to the refugee/immigrant crisis. I spoke at an immigration rally in June during General Assembly in St Louis. And in December I crossed the US - Mexico border with friends and colleagues from GA, and took part in the Wall of Welcome event organized by Austin Seminary. I hope to God, literally, that this matters.
6) I spent a good bit of the year conducting clearance calls on a lot of pastors, trying to secure good healthy pastoral leadership for 130+ congregations. For those same congregations I also dealt with property issues, church closings, started them on the path to Vital Congregations, and laid some groundwork for some new congregations as well.
7) I got to attend a reunion of the Westminster Youth Choir, whose now-94-year-old director Bill Everitt has been a father figure, a touchstone, and a total inspiration in my life for almost 50 years. We couldn't exactly call ourselves the “youth” choir anymore, but Bill still managed to get a lot of music out of us. And oh my goodness, reconnecting with so many of my lifelong friends mattered a LOT.
8) I got to go to Cuba for the second time in my life, this time to El Centro Presbytery, and spend a week with amazing people. I hope it mattered to them that we were there, but even more I hope it will matter to Mission Presbytery that we learned so much about real, meaningful, tenacious ministry in the midst of poverty and hardship. We have no idea, friends. We walked among giants in Cuba.
9) Worked for the passage - and the funding - of the “Comfort My People” overture at General Assembly, which is working to improve mental health and to reduce the related stigma. I went in, hoping for it to pass but not expecting the groundswell of support it received. I feared we wouldn't see a dime of funding, and we left with more than twice what we'd requested. 2019 and 2020 will be good years for mental health in the PCUSA.
10) Connected (and in some cases reconnected) with. colleagues and friends from coast to coast. I laughed and cried with colleagues, sisters, relatives, friends and girlfriends in gatherings formal and informal - and even electronically in some cases. Strengthening the Beloved Community, in such a time as this, matters more than we can know.
If I had an 11th - which I don't - and could include the tail end of 2017 - which I can't - I would add that I was honored to preach the memorial service late last December for my dear friend Kay Jordan. Drawing upon a lot of Kay stories, a good dash of humor, and reality about Kay mattered a lot. I wanted to get it right for her family, her hordes of friends, and for Kay - and by God's grace, I think I did.
Merry 2019, beloveds. I don't know whether you're the kind to make resolutions, but if you are, I hope you'll join me in resolving to do more than 10 things that matter in 2019. Looking forward to getting started!