Over the threshold of a new year


Back in October, K and I celebrated my 46th birthday watching Matt Nathanson and Matchbox Twenty perform at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. Matt opened with the perfect blend of concert, revival, and comedy jam that energized the crowd for Rob Thomas and crew’s last stop on their 20th anniversary tour. The arena went completely black at the same moment a single white spotlight illuminated an empty microphone stand.

It was the rock ‘n roll equivalent of the missing man formation, a tribute to Tom Petty whose unexpected death filled our media streams just days earlier. The crowd hushed, somewhat in confusion, then the first words of Free Fallin’ echoed through the darkness. I don’t know how many of the thousands in attendance had ever seen Tom Petty live, or how many were diehard fans. All I know is that their voices became one in his honor.

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend too
It’s a long day, livin’ in Reseda
There’s a freeway, runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy, cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart
And I’m free, free fallin’
(Free fallin’, I’m-a free fallin’)
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’
(Free fallin’, I’m-a free fallin’)

I’ve been to quite a few concerts in my lifetime, and I don’t think any moment has been more memorable or moving. It was simply beautiful, an offering to an unmistakable talent, a reminder that we should always celebrate life, even when it is sometimes too short.

As I look back on 2017, so many moments humble me with gratitude for the people and opportunities that surround me. It was a year where my son’s character, talent, and accomplishment continually filled me with pride. It was a year where my professional life teemed with growth and opportunity. It was a year where a new relationship has opened my heart again to its own possibilities. It was a year where I found a physical resolve I didn’t know I possessed. It was a year where we collectively stood in the face of intolerance and harassment and said not here, no more. It was a year where I witnessed and walked through so much of nature’s splendor. It was a year where friends and family alike reminded me that we can still love despite and because of our differences.

It was a year that reminded me who I can be at my best and who we can be at our best.

While it was a tough year for so many in so many ways, I choose to carry those moments that buoy me with hope and optimism over the threshold of a new year.

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