In lieu of the ever-predictable Matt Murphy’s end of the year music-related list, I’m going to make the 2010 list of 10 important things I’ve learned this year. It’s been a really crazy year in a lot of ways. I really got into the swing of working for a major corporation. I was the part of a totally awesome and radical church plant and briefly a guitarist at another young church. I did the bulk of the planning and thematic development for an annual Christian teen convention in Harrisburg, PA. I completed a short sale on my sad little townhouse. I applied to rent a place. Well, technically, I won’t be doing that until later today, but it will still happen within 2010. It’s my first rental application since 2004. I went to some weddings. I was a groomsman in one. I introduced two of my talented friends and watched as they started dating. Becky and I have had some epic disagreements only outdone by a relationship that has grown more in the last year than in the previous five.
It’s been a (insert adjective here) year.
Some things I’ve learned or relearned (in no particular order):
1. A partnership is better than flying solo. Mostly, this applies to relationships. In Fredericksburg, in most things, particularly ministry, Becky and I went our own ways. Moving to Annapolis, we decided we didn’t want to do that again. While we serve in different areas, we have lenghty, open discussions about what we are doing and earnestly seek each other’s advice. It makes church much, much more exciting for me. I feel like I know more about children’s ministry than I ever had before.
2. Dream Goals make present monotony much more bearable. I have three and a half goals. a) Start a retreat ministry helping churches and organizations do effective retreats. Mostly my role would be administrative support of my wife. I’m trying currently to convince her to plan a retreat for women in ministry or married to men in ministry. b) Unlikely but possible goal of running a venue/coffee shop/record store (inspired by this) catering to young people especially but also others and showcasing local music in a safe environment and still being able to support my family. c) Have a band and play once a month at least (not in support of a church). My half goal is working for a church, but the opportunity has to be clearly God inspired.
3. Money is a pain in the neck. I make a little under 125% of what I made in Fredericksburg. Becky makes a little over 10% of what she made in Fredericksburg. We are making in the area of 90% of what we made in Fredericksburg, but rent is 17% higher and food prices are way higher here. Ugh.
4. Planning, preparation and prayers make for success. Revolution feels much older than it is because everything is done through intentional decision making and making sure the proper amount of time for preparation is given. I’ve seen what happens when things are rushed…and while there are successes, the batting average is lower.
5. Parents are indispensible. Without my parents generosity in opening their house to us, Becky and I would almost certainly be in bankruptcy and probably have a host of other issues. Likewise, Becky’s parents have been a constant source of advice and encouragement that make the difficulties of the past year go by much more smoothly. I feel sad for people who have parents unlike mine and Becky’s.
6. The world needs more Andy Guziks. There are a few people I’ve met this year who are awesome, but I’ll use Andy as the figurehead. He plays drums at Revolution, was my brother’s friend in high school, and smiles most of the time…but not one of those fake-seeming annoying types of smiles. He’s funny, encouraging, smart, a hard-working volunteer who also has priorities in a row. I enjoy his company, and you would too. You can’t walk away from an encounter with him without knowing he cares and wants good things for you.
7. Accountability and close friendship is priceless. I generally meet with my friend Josh once a week (we’re meeting later today) to talk about life. We talk about our families..what we love and what is tough. We talk about church. We talk about coffee and Brio appetizers. We’ve become quick and close friends, and the weeks we miss hanging out truly are worse.
8. Music is still awesome. I love playing with my worship team. I just met a guy, Kenny, who has awesome music taste, and I can’t wait to get his help in becoming a bit of a music snob again. This sounds weird, but hey…it’s who I am.
9. Children are a joy. Time spent with Ariella is demanding, but I always walk away happier. This summer we went to the aquarium in NC together, then out for hot dogs, and it will likely forever be seared into my memory as one of those “happy thoughts” that would help Peter Pan fly.
10. God is incredible. I’ve learned this so much more. I’m starting to understand the idea of love and fear…of an awesomeness that is indescribable. It is good.
I look forward to the next adventure. 2011 starts with 45 minutes on stage with Tim Captain and Julia Owens and a long weekend with my stunningly beautiful wife, Becky. Sounds like a good start.