Tonight we'll be at the Civic Square downstairs from our building bringing in 2008 with several hundred thousand other men, women, and children on the Kowloon Peninsula. Better drop in bed for a few zzzs before the clock strikes midnight just so I make it to 1AM without getting too cranky. That's not a good way to introduce myself to a new year. But just before my annual New Year's Eve nap let me take you back through 2007 by mentioning a few highs (and lows) personally and, from my perspective, globally.
On the downside I regret not seeing enough new films in '07 & need to rectify that next year. What I did see was Ratatouille (loved it - astounding animation, satisfying storyline, and a few chills watching rats march, run, and squeal!) and A Mighty Heart (I also loved this story about how the widow of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was killed in Pakistan, dealt with his horrific death). One of my New Year's resolutions is to see more films when they land in the theatre and to go back and see films like Once, Gone Baby Gone, and one I am dying to see but did not come to the theatres in Hong Kong, Into the Wild. I am also going to view my way through a great list sent to me by my filmmaking friend Isaac. (More on that tomorrow.)
Another low was not exercising near enough in the following ways: physically, spiritually, and mentally. I've been to the gym 4 out of the last 5 days and that feels good. But I have a long, kickin'-my-butt-down-there-everyday year ahead of me. Target weight (according to Dr. Cass) is 145 pounds. Let's put it this way: I am nowhere near that right now. Spiritually, I've got to spend more time basking in how much I am loved by God, my wife, family, and community of friends. Why do I fight these great gifts of love and continually try to earn credit by being someone I am not? It's got to end (or, more realistically, wind down slowly). Mentally. I need more space and time to read & think & write. Away from me all you tyranny of the urgent-type-things!
Looking back I did get high on some great titles in '07. Favorites were: The Year of Living Biblically, The Hobbit, The Openness of God, Theology for the Community of God, Is God to Blame?, The Golden Compass, the New Testament books of 1 & 2 Peter, The Economist (best periodical), and The Asian Wall Street Journal (the best weekday newspaper). On-line there were countless blog entries, articles, and videos that made me laugh, cry, and challenged me.
Almost all highs traveling around the world. I visited the following countries: Thailand, Holland, the United States and Canada, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom, and South Korea. The best move an airline made with me this year was when Cathay Pacific upgraded me free to business class because I flew to Beijing on my birthday. A lot of time in airports and airplanes means one remembers such acts of kindness.
Before I wrap this up and leave you with a killer recommendation for "best of" lists for 2007, here a few more:
Person(s) I wished the world had loved more in '07: the people of Darfur & Anna Nicole Smith. (Too bad no one loved Smith for who she was - a human being, created in the image of God, and loved by Him. And the people of Darfur - we've got to do miles more in '08 for every single person living and dying in that war-torn land. It's again a despicable act if we do not.)
My person of the year: Bob Jones. For being my friend & my pastor, and for restoring hope to our church. We've been given a special gift in your fine self, Bob, and I do not take your presence with us for granted. Thanks for moving here to be part of us! (This is not this Bob Jones nor any of his sons. Completely different family, believe me.)