When the plane rolled out, it was a hot, humid brutal Georgia day... and the entire company was out on the runway, saluting as we flew off. We were flying high over Boston in the dark and far below we could see the little pops of the Independence Day fireworks. Little pops at 30,000 feet but a beautiful sight from the parks and the harbor.
It's been a big year. I can now claim stumbling incompetence in even more languages. Found out things about myself, and things about the world. Rocked some of my "must be trues" and "obviouslies". Have an entirely new set of things where the educated point of view about what a people believes doesn't match what happens on the ground. More, too. Stories that I can't tell. Things that, I think, would make many of you very proud but silence is one of the rules of this game. Someday, perhaps.
Not just here. My lovely wife and remarkable children (really a young man and woman now) have also had a big year half a world away. Full of challenges and things that might have been disasters. Watching and listening from a distance I've been awed by their strength and adaptability. They don't need me, which makes the love that we share more true. I admire them, so that even if there were no ties of blood, no years of shared time, I would still want to know these people and would feel honored to spend time with them.
Yet every time I see her picture, K takes my breath away. Still. After nearly twenty-three years together. That's not bad. Friendship and trust and admiration are nice. Passion doesn't hurt, either.
You, too, reading this. You've been a part of this year for me as well. Thank you.