Hello again, dear reader. I am roughly 11 hours away from the end of one year and the beginning of another. By the time this gets posted, it will be closer. And so, as old and new come closer together, I reflect. I reflect on the passage of the past 365 days. And along with reflection comes assumption...the assumption that the next set of days will be different. So please, reflect along with me. But please don't assume with me....oh forget it, I won't bust out that tired old joke. Here we go then, dear reader. Reflect and assume.
2012. It seems that the older I get, the faster these increments of time disappear. Maybe it's because the more I age, the more fun I have. They say time flies when you're having fun, so that's the only logical explanation. Yes, this past year was a fun year, and a tough year. As a family unit, we had many enjoyable events that led to treasured memories. As an individual and as a part of the family, the struggles in different aspects of life have been ever present. And through good and bad, the blessings of God are most evident.
I think that one of the many highlights of the year would have to be the trip we made to California. It was my eldest brothers birthday in May so we decided to fly there and pay him a surprise visit. It was a magical 5 days. The drawback was that Dad couldn't be there, but Mom was as well as my other two siblings. To be able to do this from a practical and financial point of view is just one example of the rich blessings we receive.
I have watched my children grow another older, and with that growth comes change. Personalities develop a little bit more, interests are pursued with more vigor, and the interaction between parents and children changes. I watched my son careen towards the cusp of that awkward time when he's not a little boy, but not a teenager. He's a wonderful child who shows signs of incredible maturity, but yet in his heart still is young boy. I've watched and listened to him grow as a musician. His love for music and his affinity for the pipe organ is spell-bounding. He played for an audience on no less than 3 occasions this year...twice playing the postlude after a Sunday worship service and once playing the recessional for a choir concert. Blessings? In an over-whelming abundance.
My daughter too has an ear and a love for music. She has come a long way in her lessons and is showing signs of having a beautiful singing voice and an incredible sense of timing and rhythm. She's a playful girl who loves to laugh and have fun. And as she enters this next set of months, she more and more becomes a 'girly-girl', and I mean that in the nicest possible way. She loves things to with hair and dolls. We have been blessed with an amazing daughter!
Many of you who have read my stuff over the past number of years know about the well documented battle against cancer that my wife fought. It has been almost 4 years since the diagnosis. All signs point to her cancer being 'not active', and that is the best we will ever hear from her oncologist. There are still many side effects from the treatments she had and the drugs she continues to take, but she deals with those in faith. As a family, we support her and each other as much as we can. But without our faith in God, I don't believe we would be where we are. He truly is the great healer, and blessed us with access to excellent medical care and a facility that is second to none to receive treatment in. Our 'new normal' has been defined, and this past year has proven that it is marvelous. Yes there has been some medical bumps (pun intended) in the road. But that's ok. It was meant to happen that way. It's all part of God's plan.
Personally, I've had a good year. I've been fortunate to serve my church community in a couple different capacities. I've experienced the ups and downs of being an author, from getting published in The Rusty Nail to going through a drought where the words weren't working. I've developed new friendships, maintained current ones, and re-kindled old ones. Social media has played a big role in this....there is a large writing community that I try to interact with, to learn and grow as an author. Oh, I've had my share of struggles, most of which I share with no one. That is where there is room for improvement.
Which leads me to the assumption part of this article. I am going to assume that the positives and negatives from 2012 will lead to growth and improvement in 2013. The things I need to fix will be a project. The things I want to learn will be a WIP (work in progress). and every aspect of my life falls into one of these two categories, sometimes into both. An assumption is that this will happen. My belief is that God will help me make it happen. I don't make resolutions as I head into a new year. I make plans. And God willing, I will have the strength to carry these plans out.
And so, dear reader, this is the final article of the year of our Lord 2012. I thank all of you who have read my stuff, encouraged me, criticized me and inspired me. I thank my friends, my family, my church community and my co-workers for everything. Everybody helped in shaping the past 365 days into a memory. Most of all, I thank my God, who has blessed me with so many people and so many opportunities and gifts. Without Him, I am nothing.
From my family to you and yours, we wish you a very happy New Year.
Rod E. Kok