Years past


Okay, I admit it. On New Year’s Eve, I was not partying like a rock star. I was rubbing my sick daughter’s back and watching television with my husband. We were warm, cozy, and laughing about all of our past New Years.

Our most memorable one being when we lived in Lincoln, Nebraska. We walked through three-foot snowdrifts to the downtown pubs. It was particularly cruel weather for me–as a girl from Florida who had never even seen that white powdery stuff before I was seventeen.

Around two a.m., when we finally made it back to our apartment, we realized that neither one of us had any keys. We locked ourselves out.

We didn’t have cell phones or car keys either. I couldn’t even imagine standing in one place to wait for a locksmith. I was sure that I was about to die. I had visions of my fingers and toes falling off.

So, we walked another mile and knocked on Matt Buell’s door–because he’s the sort of wonderful friend who would happily let us in at two-thirty in the morning. Laughing, he pulled out his sofa bed, made us some hot chocolate, and we stayed up watching Dick Clark. They just kept playing footage of that crystal ball dropping over and over again, as the New Year traveled from the East Coast to the West.

No such drama this year. I was just nursing my daughter, hoping that I wouldn’t have to clean up any more vomit out of the carpet. And–get this–we were watching a Carol Burnett documentary. On PBS. Aahh…It was a wild and crazy night….

They were talking about how Carol Burnett shocked the world by how honest she was. I can’t remember what she was honest about…I think it was her daughter’s addiction and recovery. But, she was admitting to these things before public figures ever did.

Now, we know all about the private lives of the stars–their addictions, recoveries, DUIs, fights, diseases, and haircuts. Nothing’s too sacred or too mundane to be tabloid fodder–especially if it’s happening to the talented, young, and beautiful.

But it’s not just the superstars. We might have learned it from Oprah, but I think the honesty (exhibitionism?) has trickled down to all of us. It’s a huge change.

At a retreat in our church, we were talking about generational issues. It was a pretty amazing conversation, because we had adults from every ten-year range. The people who were 70+ said, “You know, when we were growing up, we couldn’t even tell you what the word ‘rape’ meant.”

“Really?” I was startled. I had not only heard the word since before I could remember, I was in fear of it since before I could remember. I asked, “Was it because it didn’t happen or because no one talked about it?”


I thought about the change. And, I guess I’m happy about our ragged, worn, and honest world. I’m glad that we can talk about most things. Openly.

I’m glad that women who suffer from breast cancer can ask for prayers in church. It’s good to know that church leaders who drink too much can get help. They can have support in recovery and don’t have to suffer alone. I’m pleased that same-sex couples don’t always have to lie about who they are, and gays and lesbians are slowly finding places in our church where they can live out their calling. Women who have been victims of violence can speak…when they are able.

And I guess I’m glad that I write and live in a world where even the mundane (like… getting locked out of the house on NYE…) can be interesting.


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