“Moments Like This…”

What a year 2011 was for me… I can’t recall a more active or challenging year that I have ever experienced… Looking back on the past twelve months I often wonder how I held it all together… How was I able to push aside the critics and the know-it-alls and be the person I am suppose to be…? How in the world did I move beyond the voices of those who felt blessed with reason and find a way to experience both fulfillment and promise…? Even as I set here now I can’t find the words that can give meaning to the pleasure.

The year started out with a simple bang…. I accepted a promotion at work and felt immediately that this would be a good year… I mean let’s face it, it was a promotion, what could possibly go wrong… My first week on the job a blizzard hit here in the city… Our facility was shut down for two days without power… Being a new manager in this new production environment I immediately found my crew two days behind on production and having to think outside of the box in order to get back on schedule… Normally it would not have been a big deal for me but considering the fact that my car (actually my wife’s car) was stuck in the parking lot entrance, covered in snow, and I didn’t have much time to dig it out added to the stress…

Within one week our production environment experienced another hic up in production… A fire struck the facility that sorts the majority of our mail… Checks, policies, correspondences, and notices sent to our policy Holders had to be reprinted and re-mailed… Considering that we weren’t a hundred percent sure exactly what was mailed and what was burned up made this a organzational nightmare… I quickly found myself working twelve and thirteen hour days in my first two weeks on this new job… A fact that caused me to think ‘Maybe I made the wrong decision…’ But we survived and I have happily been in the position for a year now thankful I didn’t go into my bosses office and say ‘This isn’t for me…’ Moments like this in a career only come once in a while…

About a month after that on March 9th my mother called in a mad panic… My younger brother Keith (29) had died… I remember few things about that night or what happened next… I remember having to call and break the news to my father… I remember my small group leader (Jeff Wilson) calling and praying for me… I remember my wife holding me as I cried like a little baby in her arms… They say you don’t know how important someone is your life until they are gone… It is true… I can’t think of a man who I disagreed with more on so many topics but yet had so much in common with at the same time… That’s brothers though… And despite the countless fights we had as kids or the political debates we had as adults, I can say that I know my brother left us knowing he was loved… Not just by others but by me as well…

The Saturday after he passed I stood in front of 400 people, and with all the strength I had I told everyone why my brother was important… Not only why he was important, but I also told why I was able to stand before them on that day… I told a crowd of mostly non-believers about the amazing strength that God has given me… How outside of his love there is only one other love that matters most… Your families… I walked up on that stage that day with no notes, not having a clue what words would spill from my lips… Just with a prayer and a strange confidence that I was in the right place and saying the right thing… The proudest moment of my life was the day I accepted Christ as my savior, the second was the day I said ‘I do’ to my best friend, and the third proudest moment of my life was when I spoke at my brother’s funeral… Moments like this, to witness, only come once in a while…

A few months later my wife of seven years and I purchased our first home… This was a pivotal moment in our marriage… That point in which we stopped thinking of ourselves as just two kids living a fun life… But started seeing ourselves as adults with investments and responsibility… Nothing made me happier then seeing the smile on my wife’s face as we signed the last dotted line and got in the car with a key… Not a key to some apartment or a condo but to our first home… A moment like this in a marriage only comes once in a while…

Later in the Summer my wife and I turned down a free trip with my company to the Dominican Republic and opted to take a trip to Charleston SC instead… Now Charleston is an amazing city full of rich architecture and history… Being a huge revolutionary war history buff I was in heaven… Strange thing about SC… The old churches from the mid 1700’s are still standing and in those church yards our graves… Some graves have been there since the late 1600’s… One afternoon I took a trip all alone and went hunting for a particular grave… I found it, humbly resting under a small tree in a church grave yard… It was the grave of Edward Rutledge… A member of the first Continental Congress and the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence… As I stood there taking pictures, documenting my trip, I found myself in complete awe… Here was a man, who at the age of 26 committed treason against the King of England when he signed that document… I wondered if he had any clue, like all those men, at the impact of what they did… Historical journals say that on July 2nd when the members voted ‘yes’ for independence that there was pure silence in the chamber afterwards… And here, a young 26 old man stood and was the one who spoke for the State of SC and said: Yes… Moments like this, to experience history, only come once in a while…

So many other things have happened this past year… Things from buying a new car and the AC in a new house going out to learning the lessons of caring for a home… But nothing ever prepares you for those moments that pop up on you… They’re like small grains of sand at times… Often overlooked but very impactful with the imprint they leave…

I long to live life in hopes of experiencing the moments… I only hope that I can walk away in 2012 and look back and smile at similar moments… Because it often the small imprints, the small moments, are what mold us into who we are to become…

God Bless: And Merry Christmas…

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