What I Learned in 2014

Overall, 2014 was the best year of my life so far. I love my work life, my home life, my friends, my religious life. Besides that, I’m bowling again.

Work — I was right. I can have a maintainable private practice, though it will be scary sometimes.
Blogging — Racism is worse than I could have imagined — specifically in California. As far back as 1989, reporter Gary Webb found that the California Highway Patrol used racial profiling as a method, and some officers went so far as to teach seminars on how to do it, but to make the paperwork seem like you weren’t. Also, Ferguson, MO will not be getting any of my tourism money. (From the book, “Kill the Messenger”, a biography of reporter Gary Webb)

I continue to like writing. As usual, I’d like to thank Cathi Chapin-Bishop and Liz Solomon Wright for helping me get started. Thanks to Larry Baker for all the books! Now that’s a good writer. Topics I’ve been considering: “Beware the Quiet Ones” — ministry and faith of three friends and “In Praise of Old Ladies” — about past-generation church women. I’d like to do an actual interview this year, just to see if I can.
Regular Life — As the father of two teenage daughters, I can assure you that there’s a LOT of lousy music out there When we listen to my oldest daughter’s favorite radio station (usually on the way to church), I am repulsed by the music and lyrical content of popular music. My daughters need to know even more about sex like they need holes in their heads. Lately, though, there’s been some really good music out there . Taylor Swift’s new album is great. I also like “Safe and Sound”, “The Best Day of My Life”, and “Pompeii” by Bastille. I have some hope that we haven’t ruined music forever.

Depression is not reality. It only seems that way.

Marriage is a good thing, once you get used to it. My marriage brings so much to my life. It’s as comfortable and normal as breathing now. I have amazing children. Thanks to the many adults who have helped them become that. Most notably, thank you to the Chancel Choir at South Church, in New Britain and their director, Richard Coffey, for helping my older daughter find her potential as a confident singer. Her self-esteem is growing because of your support. Patti, Laura, Anthony, and everyone who has said good things about her to me or my wife: it has made a difference. My younger daughter is enthralled by Camp Wightman and the people there, including Lisa . She finds great fulfillment through it. The staff of the West Hartford Library also bring out the best in her. I must have chosen wisely. All my Boston peeps: My daughters can identify Aretha Franklin’s voice on a CD. “Of course that’s Aretha”, they say. Again, I must be doing something right.
As much as Facebook makes me feel connected to my friends, I am reminded how much I miss seeing them in person, no matter where they are: California, New York State, Boston, Bridgeport. Cathi: ditto.
I was thrilled to be invited and, and to attend, Bennyta’s wedding to Mr. Thompson. It was everything she deserved in a service. I know Gerri was proud.

I’m getting to be middle aged, My former Youth Group friends have children graduating from High School. I don’t feel old, though (except in my bones). Therefore, I must be middle aged. I like being middle aged. Shout out to Julie Barr for her good thoughts. Amy and Becky: nurses are great. Derek, you’re a good father.

The Train Trip — The Grand Canyon is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Glacier National Park is about out of glaciers. This is not good, for so many reasons. The Northwest of our country is incredible — not just on the coast. Colorado, the Dakotas, Washington State and Oregon are also majestic.

My friends see the best in my daughters and my daughters see the best in my friends. Craig and Frances Hames, Ron Bottitta, Liz Solomon Wright, (people they have never met before) and my father, David Bibeau have all had my children in hysterics or awe or both this year — and they did so immediately.

Ministry —
I am not multi-faith, at least in practice. I can stretch a lot, but there’s a lot I don’t know.

I actually did a LOT of ministry this year. Thanks to Tamara Moreland and CT UCC staff.
Todd, Martha, and Karen: Your hugs feel good. Thanks. Peter: It was one of the thrills of my life to have lunch as adults and equals.

To the entire staff of CYC: it was an incredible blessing to be there. It reminded me just how active God is in my life. I still haven’t figured out the “start a new camp thing” yet. Maybe someday.
Though a copy is never as good as the original, I like being the “Gordon” person for others. Deering friends continue to bless me. Bob, Derek, Rob and Val — Thanks for coming to the Ordination party!
Char, Carol, and Emily — I continue to be proud. George — nice book group! Michelle continues to do impressive ministry in Haddam Neck.

Happy Returns —

People I didn’t expect to have in my (at least Facebook) life have returned — Joyce Morin and Jeff Brown from seminary, Margo Walker from L.A., and a whole truckload of family from all over the place — Paul, Jessica, Anna, various Rheaumes, and Bibeaus. Thanks to all of them.
Face-to-face, all of my friends in L.A. In Texas, Liz. Especially excellent: Alan Bercovici and St. Cecilia’s bowling league.

What does 2015 hold? As usual, I don’t have a clue. I somehow missed the “omniscience” classes at seminary. At this point, I look forward to it, and give thanks for 2014.

Peace,

John

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