2016 closes.

Yes, it’s a manmade construct, this ending and beginning. Mankind is a superstitious lot. Our brains are highly developed pattern recognizers, even when there is no pattern! We place significance on some. So, with so many other humans, I celebrate the ending of one trip around the sun and the beginning of the next.

Looking back, significant events have occurred and upon those, I now reflect.

The 30th of March I was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for apostate behavior. I come from Pioneer stock, going back to the days of the Church’s founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. Some of my ancestors were part of Joseph’s inner circle. The Church is an integral part of what makes me, me.

The 11th of May my 80-year-old mother passed away after suffering a series of strokes, ischemic first and then hemorrhagic. Being notified by a brother the day before my Mom’s passing, my wife and I drove overnight, arriving about 12 hours before she died. It’s hard to know if she knew we were there by that time, but we were able to say our goodbyes.

Any other negative or perceived negative events in 2016 pale in comparison. Both are life-changing.

On the bright side, my wife has been awesomely supportive! Not surprising since she is not just my wife but my best friend. Proven. She still wishes to believe in the Church but supports me in my new secular orientation.

My in-laws have been respectful as well. My own family is disappointed but has not censured me.

I hope our relationships continue in love and respect.

I have a high caliber set of longtime friends and I am making new ones constantly. Aside from the political scene, 2016 has been one of good things and personal growth. The personal growth was somewhat forced due to the two major negatives, but I am now in a place where I am happy and content.

All in all, 2016 has been good, using a certain perspective. While 2017 is just a continuation rather than an ending/beginning, I look forward to what my future holds.

Happy New Year!