This is the final part of my 2016 Christmas letter. Go here to read part one.
Let’s rewind a moment here, I missed a story. In early July, on my last day in Nashville, my friend Patrick offered to chauffeur my bags and me to the airport. Upon picking me up, we made a short detour to his place to pick something up. Along the way he kept asking strange cryptic questions about charging Apple products internationally. We pulled up at his place, Patrick jumped out and moments later he handed me a long white box, saying, “this is for you.” I pulled open the lid to find his Apple Watch.
I replied, “But Patrick, you can return this! It’s practically brand new.”
“Oh, no I want you to have it. I’ve worn it a few times and I think you’ll get more joy from it than I will.”
“But Patrick, it’s pristine! You can sell it and get a really good amount for it. Seriously.”
“Will, I actually want you to have it.”
So, I accepted his gift. It was exactly the model I wanted. On the flight home, I kept looking at my wrist every few minutes. It was a clear token of God’s relentless, unnecessary kindness, as well as the the generosity of the community I was leaving. As much as I was excited to be back in England, I was deeply sad to see this chapter ending. I hope one day there will be a second.
For my 29th birthday in August, a few friends and I went to Iceland, a country I’ve dreamt of visiting for many years. We saw long glaciers, floating icebergs at sunset, abandoned plane crashes at sunrise, stood near exploding geysers, hot-tubbed under the stars, swam in bright blue lagoons, and witnessed the majesty of some epic waterfalls. Photos weren’t half bad either.
During September I decided to take advantage of the freedoms of freelancing, namely, being unchained from a desk. So I travelled up to Nottingham to set up my office at my sister and brother-in-law’s place for a few days. But towards the end of my stay, I began to feel unwell. After a sleepless night, my sister took me to the doctors, who forwarded me to the hospital for further prodding. They confirmed my suspicions, took me in for the night as they prepared to remove my appendix the following morning.
So, cut to the chase, one keyhole surgery later, I was down an organ, missing a couple of hours of conscious thought, and dosed up on some potent drugs. But, by Jove, they cured me! Between the staff and my sister, I felt thoroughly well taken of. Come to think of it, the anaesthetist was a genuine knock out too.
10 Year Anniversary
October saw the 10th year anniversary of my band’s first album. The band celebrated the occasion with a weekend break in Norwich. This first album defined the paths we walk today. The only reason I've been able to live abroad, start a business, or execute different creative projects is because of what I learnt while in Second Monday.
We made some stellar memories along the way, with months on the road in Germany playing underground caverns, castles in the forest, clubs in the mountains, open air festivals, as well as many other venues. It was fun to take a retrospective moment with the guys and catch up.
To close out the year:
- My brother and I visited two brilliant friends in their new home in Cornwall.
- My wonderful sister, nephew, and brother-in-law all moved south to Winchester!
- Being the coffee nerd I am, I jumped at the opportunity to setup a speciality coffee stall at my church’s annual Christmas fair.
- I enjoyed a cold but delightful day at Bristol zoo with my brother and other such animals.
- Christmas Day was celebrated with family and dog at my parent’s home in Ropley… my brother got me a podcast on vinyl. Because, why not?
There’s a good deal of this year I’ve left on the cutting room floor. Some parts I’d rather forget. Some parts that led to costly lessons, which I may write about another day. But taken as a whole, I see one theme more than any other. This year, I was indelibly blessed. I received abundantly. I haven’t even covered the half of it.
I’ve had a growing conviction in my heart, a simple idea: God wants to pour out so much in our lives, if only we would let him give it. It may require us to get out of the way. I've found that often starts by getting real with what my heart has learned to believe through my experiences. Only then can I invite God to come in and change what experience has me convinced of.
Right thinking only gets us so far, but to truly experience abundant life (John 10:10), we must share our lives wholeheartedly with God, our father, and give him the space to speak. I’ve been doing a lot more of that this year, and it’s been spectacular.
If you’re thinking about resolutions for the new year, I’d highly encourage you to consider investing your time to learn how to hear God’s voice through two-way journalling. Send me a message and I can recommend some resources.