“We’ve seen it all: bonfires of trust, flash floods of pain.
It doesn’t really matter. Don’t you worry, it’ll all work out.
No, it doesn’t even matter. Don’t you worry what it’s all about.
We hope you enjoyed your stay!
It’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for the day.
We hope you enjoyed your stay!
Outside the sun is shining: it seems like heaven ain’t far away.
It’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for the day.”
– The Killers, “Exitlude”
Twelve months ago my thrift store arm chair was green. It was, green, it was old, it was soft, and it had me in it. I sat in a first floor apartment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, drinking an entire bottle of sparkling cider by myself. Across the hall, our neighbor was in a drunken rage again, shouting profanities at the top of her lungs. My friend Spencer slept quietly in his bed in the other room.
“It’s strange being an Elder sometimes,” I wrote in my red leather journal. “Your heart really yearns for friends and family, but you’re bound by duty and love for God. Discipline is painful.” That day I had gotten really homesick as I stood by the eggs in the grocery store. The eggs had nothing to do with the homesickness, but I remember them anyway.
Moments are the threads that weave the sweaters of our lives. If you weave them right, even the lonely and frayed threads can bring you warmth in the end. As cold, lonely, and frayed as it may have felt a year ago, that thread is one of many that are keeping me warm now.
I didn’t know as I sat in that green chair that this guy would become one of my best friends:
I didn’t know from that green chair that I’d meet a man who would tell us how he had never had fun a single time in his life, and that we’d take him to the mall to try on some spiffy new clothes to make him feel better about himself. I also didn’t know that in return he’d paint a recreation of a Monet painting and tell me to give it to my future wife:
At that point, I didn’t understand what it would feel like – I didn’t know the joy that would come from having my mom’s arms around me again and being surrounded by family after 2 years of absence.
I didn’t know that they’d already planned a trip to Disneyland, and that my new sister in law was one of the coolest people to ever walk this planet. I didn’t know that she would become one of my greatest role models and give me timely advice when I needed it most.
From that silly old arm chair, I had no clue was was in store for me. Like my job making healthy salad wraps at this antique car show:
Passing this test:
Or saying goodbye to grandma and grandpa:
You could be in many different places tonight. The fireworks could be painting your lover green and blue as you dance grinningly to Michael Buble. You could be at a rooftop concert in New York, enjoying yourself while waiting for the ball to drop. You could be with your family around a fireplace, eating desserts and telling jokes. Or you could be in a green Goodwill arm chair with a wooden handle on the side that provides access to one of the most comfortable leg rests ever invented by mankind.
Wherever you are, don’t get caught up on the negatives. Don’t yearn for positives that may never come. Don’t dream of days bygone, of yesterdays and yesteryears, of yester-ways and yester-fears. Where you are is where you need to be, and if you let life take its course, your present circumstance will become a sacred stitch in a warm sweater of memories. Just give it time.
I’m glad I did, or I wouldn’t have had the privilege of loving these people:
Here’s to 2014. Let’s make it beautiful, and enjoy the ride.
My name is Zach Collier, and I appreciate 2013.