Monday, December 29, 2014

Goodbye 2014. Go away.

2014 is coming to a close and all I can say is THANK GOD.
This year, while it's had some great moments and some fun experiences, has not been awesome. I've just felt stagnant from the moment it started to the moment it's ending.

While I was in Dallas for Christmas, I attended church with my parents. While the church is in the same building it was in when I was growing up, it is, in no way, the same church. Here's some background:

I grew up in Dallas, the buckle of the Bible belt. I grew up attending a Pentecostal church and from the day I was born, I was at church every Sunday and Wednesday. My family is Methodist on my mom's side and Pentecostal on my dad's side. I sang in the children's musicals (I had the lead, thank you very much), I sang in the youth choir, and when I graduated from high school, I continued to lead the drama dept for the youth group. As much as I didn't want to fit into anyone's mold, I fit in that "church kid" mold perfectly. Everyone had the same opinion on most things and we were unified in that.
But as I got older, I began to question things that I wasn't really supposed to question. Namely: Just because it's been done one certain way for so long, why does that mean we have to keep doing it that way? Replace "it" with whatever is the hot topic of the moment. 
I wasn't alone by any stretch of the imagination. I feel like I was among a generation of church-going young people who all began to ask questions at the same time. I had friends who were in school to become pastors and many of the professors would get upset with them because they didn't want to run their congregations with the same legalism and rigidity that so many churches functioned in. 
At 21, I left the church I grew up in, and began attending a Baptist mega-church down the street where I attended until I transferred to a college further away.

I say all of that to say that this church was almost a second home. I was there all the time. I remember when the building was being built and we toured it, I remember when we were building the youth center and we canceled drama practice so we could go play in the rain inside the steel shell that would become that building. Most all of my teenage memories are tied to that place and the people inside of it.

But being inside there on Sunday, I was left with a hollow feeling of loss. It's nothing like it was. The people are different people, it's a different staff, it's even been remodeled somewhat so it's physically different. There's no remnant of what was previously so vibrant in my life. I sat through the service, trying to pay attention, but my thoughts were continually stolen away by looking around and seeing that nothing was the same.

I left there knowing I won't be returning. I care far too much about those memories to allow them to be diminished by whatever this new/other things is.  It's mildly appropriate that it happened at the end of the year. I'm so ready for a new year to begin. Usually, the fall is when I reboot, and that's true, but there's just something about this new years that feels so right.

I'm ready to close the door on 2014 and focus purely on what's ahead. There's nothing I hate more than being stagnant and I'm going to do whatever I have to do to get out of that state of mind.

So thank God. Here's to 2015.

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