Remember January when I talked about being lost? Rereading that post takes me back to all those lost feelings.
Remember remembering? Rereading this post and rewatching The Lion King--that was such an epiphany moment. The key to improvement in 2016 was reacquainting myself with me.
Remember 365 sunsets? Here are all twelve months, including November's and December's (November was forgotten in the whole Pakistan adventure). I love these. It makes the year more real somehow.
While I did miss a few sunsets over the year, I captured most of them.
2016 was a mixed bag. I faltered in the last few months, with school sapping my time and my energy, but bringing with it unexpected joy and fulfillment. I removed my necklace for a few days (I can't even remember why now), and when I put it back on, it had a knot in it that I never found the time to untangle. For months now it's hung like this, just not quite right and an outward manifestation of the craziness of my life these days.
I didn't end 2016 with my strongest resolve, but I do see change. Teaching has been part of the change (remember my first day?). Experience from the year has been part of it as well (remember Lily's life flight?). Most of the change has come from hard work on my part (remember the hike I never finished?).
I did end 2016 on an unexpected note, literally. Two days after Christmas, an unidentified number lit up my phone. The voice on the other end was familiar, informing me that a friend of mine had passed away on Christmas night. While saddened at the news, I was surprised at the unexpected personal notification of Stan's passing. The voice paused, then stuttered out, "This is awkward for me to ask, but Stan wrote out his funeral program before he died, and he asked that you play the organ and a piano solo at the service. Are you available Friday morning?"
With that, my mind wandered back to moments with Stan Standing, an elderly gentleman (in the truest sense of that word) who used to live around the corner from us. He always had a twinkle in his good eye (the other lost in childhood to disease) and a subtle joke on his lips. He sang in our ward choir, and I was the accompanist at the time. Our conversations were usually short, and once we moved a mile away, our interactions limited to seeing each other at stake conference once or twice a year, if that. He wanted me to play at his funeral? Then play I would.
The funeral was small yesterday--less than 100 people to mourn a quiet man of integrity--but I put my whole heart into "Consider the Lilies." I couldn't help tearing up at the end, thinking about Stan and how our lives had intertwined for the last 20 years. As I embraced Judy, his widow, before getting into the car, she squeezed me tight and whispered in my ear, "Thank you. That was perfect. You know Stan really loved you." We never know the impact we leave on someone else's life, do we? What a beautiful way to end 2016.
Tonight marks the last night of 2016. The last sunset. The completion of my goal to document every night of the year. I will miss that fleeting moment each night, and I wonder if I will ever look at sunsets the same again.
Was 2016 successful? Was my goal to remember all I'd hoped it would be? No.
But somehow the perfect execution of the goal matters less to me than ever before in my life. And that is the greatest lesson I will take from this year--it was enough.