… it was the worst of times.*  Charles Dickens finishes that thought with a long paragraph that continues the theme but those two more famous lines from the opening paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities really describe what this year has been like.  It has been exactly that…the best of times and the worst of times.

I was joking on Facebook today and said this (typo’s and poor math skills included):

This has been one of the worst years of my life. Seriously, top five worst. It has also been the best year if my life . Sometimes it managed to be both in the same week. Its been crazy and glorious. The cool thing is that with only 21 days left in the year God had granted us two more amazing gifts to finish it off. If next year works out this way I may finally have to admit ti being bipolar.

Later this morning, I told a friend, “You know, even if I’m not bipolar I might need Lithium just to deal with my life.”

Many of you know that I work for a big bank and you’ve seen the news about things happening at those banks. Layoffs, cut backs, protestors… the list is endless. Those things have impacted me deeply.  There have been medical issues, job issues, family issues and other frustrations but let’s be clear that this post isn’t meant to be a jinksto pity party.  Sure, things have been hard but, as the title of this post declares, they have been awesome as well. 

For every disaster that we’ve suffered (or nearly suffered), God has granted us an amazing reward.  I’m a generally upbeat and positive (though stoic) person which is why I haven’t taken the time to recount all of the negative stuff that’s been going on in my life.  I accept challenges for what they are and work at resolving them.  Sometimes there’s nothing that I can do about them but I still try to do the best I can.

By the same token I accept God’s graces with humility and sincere thanks (most of the time) and have a lot to be thankful for this year. 

That’s not just hyperbole; I really do.  The glorious rewards that He has granted us have been life changing events and completely undeserved.  They have led us to stare in wonder at our lives and all that He has given us and think that we’re not worthy of that much love.

There is much going on in my life now that I’m not able to share openly but by the end of the year events will have transpired in such a way to allow me to share my joy with you. For now I’ve made promises to keep secrets.  Promises to people that I care deeply about so I’ll have to wait until January to tell the whole tale of ecstasy and woe.

I don’t mean for this to be a teaser post either. I simply want to document my joy this Christmas season.

As we close in on the end of the year I can’t help but look at my life and think, just for a second, “wow… this is awesome.”

If I don’t find time to post again this year I want to say, “Merry Christmas my Internet friends.”  May your life be as joyful this season as mine continues to be.




* Thanks for the title idea Mathew… it really has been both. Smile

It was the best of times…

15 thoughts on “It was the best of times…

  • December 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Dude, I love your own description of yourself: “generally upbeat and positive (though stoic) person”, love the “though stoic” part used in conjunction with “upbeat and positive”…I don’t know why, just made me smile…and described you to a “T”.

    • December 7, 2011 at 7:26 pm

      Thanks sir. I’ve actually thought a lot about that particular personality trait. I have long tried to model myself after people in my life that I respect fully. Other posts here document some of that but when I think about my role models from my youth they were almost exclusively hard men who lived hard lives.

      They publicly declared faith in God and lived like they meant it. The hard life drove them to stoicism and faith in God drove them to happiness and positive thought. In following those role models I think I’ve inadvertently adopted many of their personality traits but at the same time I realize that “acting” that way doesn’t work if you can’t back it up. I try to back it up when I can.

      There’s a song by Jack Ingram called “That’s A Man”. One of the lyrics goes something like, “he’s the kind of fella that people get real quiet
      when he stands up in church to speak. They know when he speaks.” it continues… “That’s a stand tall, walk straight put God’s share in the collection plate man” … I hear that song and think, “that’s the man I want to be”. I’m not there yet but I”m still working on it.

  • December 8, 2011 at 5:58 am

    I worry some when my virtual friends go a long time without posting or commenting at my blog…
    Glad to see this new post, and gladder still to hear that the most important of your news has you rejoicing. Waiting until your reveal will be a nice Christmas present.
    Be safe and well my friend.

    • December 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks sir. 🙂 I do manage to read your blog regularly… I just don’t always have something to add. 🙂

  • December 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    That really is a great self description. All I can say is that the folks in my family that know you, love and respect you and your entire life. What I have seen is a pretty level head, always ready to help others, having a quiet but very solid faith, an exceptional respect and love of your wife. If you stood up to talk in my church, I would hush and listen for some of the most awe inspiring thoughts to be shared.

    Very sorry that you have had medical, job stress for the unknown and other issues this year. Again it amazes me that you hold all your emotions so close to the vest. A really tough part of being humble is recognizing the need to share some of our hurts and pains with others so that we can all help you by praying for resolution. I don’t think you could whine about them if you tried…..but just knowing others know and care is often helpful as we go through these things day to day.

    You can share the troubles as well as the joy!
    Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful bride!
    Hugs and Love

    • December 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks Ms Betty. I very much appreciate the compliment.

      I do share my pains with trusted advisers (sometimes) … just not always in public. 🙂 You’re right though, having those close friends and advisers is critical to your mental health I think. We have a very strong support network… mostly from your family :0) … but they tend to play things close to the vest too which, for me, is very important.

      We are exploring expansion of that network recently. J and I have just (last Sunday) joined a local church. There are amazing people there that are adding to my list of role models. It’s very exciting.

      Thanks again for the very kind comment, they are always appreciated.

      • December 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm

        I am so glad that you and Jodi joined a local church. Family is great, but sharing and doing things with an even greater “family” is a wonderful feeling. As the old saying goes…if you are feeling down about something in your own life, do something nice for others….it will make your problems smaller—which I have already seen you do on a regular basis. Find something to thank God for each and every day and and again those personal challenges seem smaller.
        Hugs…see you soon!

  • December 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Tommy, I loved your post, as I always do, and I can share with you, I think, the analogy of Dickens’, except that my worst of times seem to have been the last several years. But in September, when I found the son that I had placed for adoption 23 years ago, most all of my “worst of times” seemed so insignificant. Whatever your good is, I hope it’s great enough to do that for you. I hope you and Jodi have a MOST Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! I pray that you both continue to prosper in the new year, and that your “worst of times” are far fewer. I’m sure if you stood up in church, of course I’d listen to what you say. I have your blog saved like an app on my phone!

    • December 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      On par with discovering your son again… yes, I think so. These are both once in a lifetime events. But… no more hints. 🙂

  • December 11, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Jinksto –

    Take a deep breath, hold tight to your faith, and share when you can.

    It’ll be good start the new year out on a high note.


  • December 12, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I had to re-read this after Thanual came home from his second home this weekend and shared some pretty exciting events to occur in less than 2 weeks. Are these events and your news the same? Hmmmm…

    • December 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      Thanual talks too much. 🙂

      I said, no more hints. 😛

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