Here’s a statement I never thought I’d make:
It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m sitting, alone, in a hotel room in Amarillo, Texas.
I didn’t set out to spend New Year’s Eve in Amarillo, Texas. I thought I’d be in Taos with my boo and our dog. Doing what people are supposed to do on New Year’s Eve. You know: Throw a party. Go to a party. Bar hop. Have a nice dinner at a nice restaurant. Make a nice dinner. And then, in my case, get up on New Year’s and begin the two-day drive to Dallas so I could arrive in time to take my mom to a doctor’s appointment first thing Thursday morning.
Alas, a two-day snow storm is forecast to arrive smack dab in the middle of that two-day drive, so I left Taos a day early to get ahead of the storm.
And spend New Year’s Eve in Amarillo, Texas.
Which I’m pretty sure is not what people are supposed to do on New Year’s Eve. At least not any people I know.
And, yet, it seems fitting that this is how I’d say good-bye to 2018. After thirteen years of seeking big answers to even bigger questions, 2018 was the year when everything got stripped down to its bare essence. Which makes spending New Year’s Eve in Amarillo, Texas just about perfect because, really, can you think of a more stripped down place than Amarillo?
When you strip something down, the only thing you can see is truth. Now, of course, you can hurriedly pretty that truth back up before anyone notices.
That’s what social media is for, after all.
Or you can just accept the truth for what it is.
Which is what I began to do in 2018.
Now truth often gets a bad rap these days. It’s scary, it’s boring, it’s, god forbid, imperfect. But I’m here to tell ya that the truth, like Amarillo, ain’t all half-bad.
Sure, the truth is that I have the body of a 53 year-old, short and increasingly pudgy man. But you know what? I have a mind and spirit that has been well-seasoned with gratitude, wonder, and joy for each of those 53 years.
Yes, my relationship has been challenged this year as my partner and I stand at not one but two crossroads and wonder if the paths we choose forward will be the same or at least parallel. And yet, as we have stood, truthfully and sometimes with tears, at the challenge of those crossroads, our love has deepened, become stronger, richer.
And, of course, I have an imperfect mother (That’s one of the things you always learn when you ask big questions: Your parents are NOT perfect. Probably even did some damage to you).
I’ve thought about Mom’s imperfections a lot in recent years, which hasn’t been easy for either of us.. But this year, as I walked with Mom through a relentless series of health challenges, I thought of the bond between an elderly mother and her middle-aged son. A bond that began in the womb, long before there were such things as imperfections.
When there was only the pure grace and stripped down truth of a mother carrying her child.
Speaking of pure grace and stripped down essence, I don’t think I’m going to have any resolutions in 2019. I’ve come to see resolutions as being about putting all our energy to some ideal, which the older I get seems kinda silly. I mean for one thing, we never seem to reach that ideal. We never seem to keep those resolutions.
Because life happens.
Because sometimes you find yourself, without warning and utterly and completely alone, in Amarillo, Texas on New Year’s Eve.
Where the only thing you can do is look in the shadows lit by the moon.
And see the truth.
Which longer than any silly resolution will walk with you as you cross the threshold from 2018 to 2019.