Well, 2016, what a year!!
Over on the RevGals Facebook Group yesterday's Friday Five asked us to list five stand out moments from 2016 - a year that the world is damning as the worst ever. The five things did not need to be all good, or all bad either, just things which will stand out when we look back.
My five things were pretty easy, having gained two grandchildren, finally celebrated my wedding, and got a darling new puppy there have been highlights aplenty.
Back in January, in my congregation we had once again taken Star Words - a word for the year, a word to view the year by; for me the word did not sit well at all, right from the moment it chose me when I dipped into the bag, the word has created dissonance. what was it?!
Acclaim. I did not want it. Acclaim - what do I do with it? It's not the same as affirmation - which I could happily have taken. Nor is it praise. It is something else all together. And it discomfitted me.
I wrote about it here.
Acclaim is loud and brash and over enthusiastic, and I am not.
In fact the older I get, the quieter, shyer and more introverted I seem to become.
2016 was loud and brash; sometimes discordant; sometimes shocking; often tragic; frequently grief stricken.
Many of my heroes have died. Musicians, actors, broadcasters; people who I grew up listening to and watching; people often who were far too close to me in age than I was comfortable with. This has absolutely added to the feeling of 2016 being an "Annus horribilis"
But. In all things it is so important to have balance.
Yes - we have Brexit; We have Trump.
Yes, we lost... David, Alan, Victoria, Caroline, Leonard, Terry, Rick, Prince, George. And there were many more, but these I admired most. They made me laugh, they made me sing, they made me think, they made me.
But I gained also: wonderful international friends - spending a few days at the beginning of the year on a cruise ship has become, after just two occasions something which I both look forward to and yearn for. Friendship with like-minded women, where we are able to laugh and sing, and share and be.
Two darling grandchildren: first we Maggie in January - the second granddaughter to my beloved, and mine through him. And then, just days before Christmas, wee Callum, firstborn son of my own firstborn son. His story is messy and complicated and not how any of us would have planned it, but nevertheless this beloved babe is a joy and a blessing.
My own dear beloved; after a complicated and tortuous process, he was finally free to marry. And so we did! Twice!! We had a civil wedding with a handful of friends in June; and then in August a great, big, wonderful, noisy, wedding blessing in my own church with family and friends.
And, finally we gained a new four-legged friend in the shape of a Sprocker Spaniel puppy, born on Easter Monday, she came to live with us at the end of May, and is now a beautiful young dog.
So, 2016; you did your worst, and it was bad. It really was.
But you also threw in some moments of joy, and glimpses of glory; you managed to shine through those dark days, wee shafts of light penetrating the mire.
And as you draw to a close - just seven hours left as I write, I will not damn you forever, I will acclaim - praise with enthusiasm - the joyful times we have shared.
Acclaim them as my own.
And, 2017, when you arrive, you'd better take care, the world is waiting with bated breath to see what on earth you will do with the mess your younger sibling left behind.