A year of blessings

At the end of 2010, my friends and I had a dinner where each of us discussed our hopes for 2011. For the past few years, two of these guys have given the coming year a name centered around their goals for the year. I believe one of those years was deemed “The Year of Risk.” They made commitments that were risky for them personally in one way or another, thus the title.

As we prepared to close out 2010, one of our friends decided that 2011 would be “The Year of Moves.” In as broad a way as possible, everyone included in the conversation had goals that could be described as a move of sorts. Whether jobs, relationships, faith, locations or directions, our collective hope was that 2011 would be a year of moves.

In true fashion, 2011 has not been one to disappoint.

I’m writing this from a coffee shop in 12th South on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I just left The Frist Center for the Visual Arts with one of this crew of friends. Recently accepted to film school abroad, 2011 is becoming his year of moves. Not planning to make a return to Nashville after school, he created a “bucket list” of sorts for Nashville. The items range from “Visit the Frist,” “see one more film at the Belcourt,” “see one final awesome Nashville concert” to “drink too much beer with good friends.” The reality of his move got him thinking about things he’d like to do before leaving the country for two years. So we’ve been fulfilling the list as often as possible. Knocking out “A good coffee shop day” and “Visit the Frist” is a good use of a beautiful Sunday.

Among this group of friends, the moves have been glaringly obvious. Two purchased homes. Two have been married already with a third later this year. One has moved to Seattle, another will move to Alabama, and a third overseas. Two have changed jobs, and two or three more are considering career path changes. Faith changes. Family changes. None insignificant.

One of these friends has been married for almost two years now. He and I have known one another since 4th or 5th grade. It’s hard to remember, which makes our friendship all the more genuine. It doesn’t matter when we became friends. We’ll simply always BE friends, and that’s good enough.

He and his wife have been enduring trials completely within their limits, but they have been trials nonetheless. He spent one evening on the porch of my apartment talking about how discouraged he and his wife were in the midst of their trials. As we talked, I thought back on all of the things that had occurred to bring them together, send them away for a year and then bring them back to Tennessee. As I listened to his frustration at his trials, I asked him to answer a question. “Of all of these trials, written on a page, how many blessings can you name? If you wrote a list of blessings and trials, which would amount to a bigger number?”

As we discussed the awesome amount blessings (check the etymology of the word to get the fullest sense of what that means) he and his wife had gathered, it became more clear to me. “The Year of Moves” is more like “The Year of Blessings if we’ll only open our eyes to see them.” Except it hasn’t occurred because we wanted it to. It simply happened because we were seeking after something bigger than ourselves, and seeking that path led each of us to a place of peace about big decisions.

As the year moves on, the “moves” are hardly over. Quite a bit can happen in five months. My hope is that the blessings are evident to everyone that was hoping for big moves in their lives.

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