Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Year in Review: Feast of Christ the King 2018

After the disheartening attitudes and sentiments that surrounded us in the "dumpster fire" that was the election year of 2016, 2017 forced us to deal with some hard realities. I still hadn't totally picked my head up, but started to put the pieces of my disheartened heart back together. 2018 has not been perfect, but I feel like it has been a year of reaping the hard work and foundations that were laid in 2017 (for at least me personally. 2018 also showed that we still have a long way to go as a society and a country, but we are starting to see the fruits of some hard work and movements that have begun).

This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King which starts the last week of Ordinary Time. And so, our liturgical year is once again coming to an end. Everyone I've talked to has expressed that this year went by FAST. And I know that everyone says that about every year, but really. This year went quickly.

I personally was determined to try and pick my head up from the dreariness of the last year and a half or so, so I filled my year with all of my favorite people and things. From January to November, 2018 has been full and pretty fun. There have of course still be heartbreaks and set backs, but I am choosing to have an attitude of positivity and gratitude that I pray will carry over into 2019.

Before I do my annual "Year in Review", I want to talk about the readings for this Sunday because I think they are so important. In a year where the flaws in our Church and in the people of our Church were all too apparent, it is nice to be reminded of the wisdom that does still exist in areas of our Church, like in the lectionary. The Gospel for this Sunday which describes Christ as a King, is the story of Pilate asking Jesus about his kingship right before he sentences Jesus to death. It never ceases to amaze and humble me to think about Jesus exhibiting his kingship in this way. In a world where we think that weakness is undesirable, here is Jesus defining his kingship in one of his seemingly weakest moments. He is about to die, but yet, it is here He shows His humility and strength. This scene should be a constant reminder of leadership and strength for all of us- that true strength requires humility and sacrifice.

My students and I have been going through the Old Testament History Books currently and most recently the book of Judges. My students can't understand why the Israelites are still struggling to worship God after all that He did for them- bringing them out of slavery in Egypt, providing for them in the desert, parting the Red Sea, leading them into the Promised Land. But I tell them, aren't we like the Israelites? God provides so much for us and yet we fail to trust Him and fall into the same pitfalls and sin over and over again. Just like the Israelites start to be influenced by the cultures around them and start to worship false idols, how many idols have we created for ourselves that keep us from our God? This is another thing that has convicted me this last week or so- that while it is good that I am filling my time with things that make me happy- I need to spend equal amount of time with Him.

And now...a year in review :)

 I think one of the major changes for me this year, was re-discovering the piano as a source of income for me. At the end of 2017, I quit my bartending gig and went back to playing piano for secondary income. While the pay is less consistent, I have my weekends and sanity back. Worth it. 
After taking the last year off, I returned to a time-honored tradition of ringing in the new year with these fabulous people in NYC.

In March, we celebrated my Babci's 95th birthday. One of the heartbreaks from this year has been a turn that her health has taken, but I am grateful for the many, many moments and years we have been blessed to share with her. 

Another heartbreak from this year is the gun violence that continues to plague our country. It breaks my heart that we seem to value guns more than people. Above is my friend and I protesting at March for Our Lives in Washington, DC this past March. We continue to vote, take action, and pray for an end to this issue. 

 Highlights from every year are always the travels with friends! Above is a pic from my Nashville road trip with a friend from CA over Spring Break and below is a pic from our fabulous road trip out West this summer!

 Of course, I spent much of the year with these people who are like family to me and 2018 will forever be the year that we discovered SKIP BO!!!

 I filled my summer with many trips and friends as well. Above is a trip to the Outer Banks and below a pic from my Philly trip. Not pictured: an awesome trip to Baltimore with old friends and trip to Ohio to see family. Also, 2018 was filled with art! I feel like I've already filled many posts with pictures of my weird art, though, so I will spare you during this post. 
 My friend having her aura picture taken in PA. 2018 was filled with lots of weird and I loved every minute of it!
 2018 meant 15 years since I graduated from CUA (the first time ;) and reunions with these very special people. I don't see some of them nearly enough, but we will always be bound together because of our foundations of faith. 
 And what year could be complete without my RVA friends and I bringing it for Halloween once again? 

After taking the past 2 years to do my own thing for Thanksgiving (hibernating in a teepee and mourning the events of 2016 for one and giving back and building community with The Giving Heart in 2017) I am returning to a tradition of spending Thanksgiving with some friends in Northern VA and I'm looking forward to just relaxing and celebrating once again.

I'm overall very grateful for 2018. A lot of good things have come from the trials and struggles of the past 2 years and for that, I am truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving and end of this liturgical year!