And so another year comes to a close, and with it the first decade of this much-vaunted third millennium.
A lot has happened in these ten years. Some buildings got knocked down by hijacked airplanes in 2001: that was quite a dire start to the decade. As a result — or using that tragic event as a thin excuse, if you prefer — the country of my birth has been at war in far-away lands ever since, as well as haphazardly slapping together an endless and impotent culture of fear in our own part of the world.
The end of that year saw the end of a long but futureless personal relationship for me, but I entered the new year full of hope, and in January of 2002 I found the love of my life. In 2003 I got married to her, and after a brief year of loving couplehood we became parents together, and then three years later it happened again, and now, three years later, it is happening yet again. (I’m really not sure how this keeps happening.) Married life, family life, has been a lot of things, but mostly it has been real, and that is good.
My professional life, too, has covered a lot of ground in these ten years. At the start of the decade I was just becoming a low-level manager at a Barnes & Noble store. Four years later I made the leap, necessitated by the recent birth of my first son, to a soulless cubicle job shuffling through thousands upon thousands of mortgage files and preparing them for archiving in a vast gray warehouse. That nearly destroyed my soul, but fortunately I was rescued, thrown a lifeline, and I escaped to the tiny database support team in the same building, where I was able to learn a whole set of skills I had no idea I would ever encounter, and far more importantly I was able to work with a group of people who really cared about each other, and made working together something joyful. I will always miss that aspect of that time.
But the voice of vocation was not silent in my life, despite years of neglect on my part, and in 2009, with the support of my wife, I finally set foot upon a path I had been pulled toward for quite some time: the study of canon law, preparatory to a life working as an expert in the internal law of the Catholic Church. I am now in the midst of my first year of graduate studies in this area, having left all my gainful employment behind and thrown myself on my local church for the support of myself and my growing family; I can hardly say how grateful I am that they have been so willing to catch me and hold me (so to speak). It has been an excruciatingly challenging time for my family, but the light is starting to shine brightly through the clouds once more, and there is much to hope for in the years ahead.
And now the decade is over, and in the morning a new one will dawn. What will the next year, and the next ten, hold for me? I certainly could have predicted very, very little of what transpired over these past three thousand six hundred fifty-two days, so I won’t even pretend I have a clue what to expect from the coming three thousand six hundred fifty-three turns of the globe. But I am sure hoping that I can make a similarly sanguine report to each of you at the other end of this decade, too.
Happy New Year, everyone. Don’t stick beans up your noses.