Monday was the Feast of the Holy Name. I was glad to be in church for a quiet Eucharist, and to read the festive Morning and Evening Prayer for this day. There’s nothing like reading the Te Deum on a weekday!
As I return to work today, after three weeks away, I am mindful that this is a new year. Some thoughts on these next twelve months —
The calendar page has turned to A.D. 2018, but in my own life the calendar page has turned dramatically. My father and I were not particularly close. For the better part of two decades, we had not found a lot of common ground in many areas of life. There were no issues — just distance and not much to discuss.
But the death of a parent is still a life-changing event. Now, just more than two weeks on, I’m keenly aware that there will be no more emails, no more visits with him at home, no more breakfasts at the local café, no more teasing him about Mizzou (which he loved) or sour cream (which he hated). The reality of his death is starting to sink in.
He goes with me, though, in the man I am today, in the ease I feel in interacting with strangers, in the laugh that sometimes bursts forth. I daily find myself doing something that clearly marks me as Richard’s son. I shall endeavor to be the man he would wish for me to be.
And after making my way through many of his piles over the last half-month, I’m determined to make my own life tidier, both in real terms and psychological.
The last year did not afford me many opportunities to be as creative as I would wish. I changed that on New Year’s Eve as I wrote a song, and I’m determined to keep up the personal creativity over these next months. Already I’ve written a new song!
The entry to 2017 was celebrated in Hong Kong; 2018, at home in Saint Louis. I’ll renew my travel habits this year, with a March excursion to Moscow, Vienna, and London, and then some foreign location over the summer. And then my sabbatical begins in October, and I’ll start that with some time out of the country.
The challenges at Webster are real, with budget woes and enrollment opportunities. We have much work to do this semester: closing the deal with a new-student class, revving up for our decennial accreditation review, managing faculty change, living within more modest means, fulfilling our part of the bargain with the students entrusted to our care and who are counting on us to deliver. Succession planning is on my mind, as is renewal.
The previous year brought some minor health woes: trigger finger, a skin cancer scare, weight gain, a cracked tooth and crown, increasing daily pain in my bad leg, blood pressure that rides too high. I need to deal honestly and effectively with these matters this year.
I’m wanting to do some volunteering this year, and have determined to find something to do with the International Center of Saint Louis, with Christ Church Cathedral, and perhaps with a local hospice. I’m living too much in a world of my own devising, and need to give to others.
And might 2018 be the year I find the right man and make a decision to share my life with him? Perhaps, and I’m open to the universe’s karma on this one.
For some fun to round this out, some Auggie: