Kukla Christmas Letter 2018

It is the last day of 2018… so I guess I need to get this written. 2018 is a bit of blur to me. It has felt like a year in which all the important things in our immediate family went well… kids are healthy, school and music and sports are going well, the parents are appropriately exhausted, and there is no reason to believe that it won’t continue that way into 2019.

Warren keeps very busy because he loves keeping his options open: soccer, cross-country, track, oboe, saxophone, piano, science bowl, and honor society… and he does it all well… from what I can tell. Even family-oriented, responsible 13 year old boys are hard to get much out of… in Warren language the word ok means about 23,641 different things.

Elizabeth is finding her own way. She has come to a time of learning to opt out of things that aren’t exciting to her that she used to do because she followed in her brother’s footsteps. She is also a lot like having a 25 year living in the house when it comes to her desire to run a household… she is Caroline to a t (if the name Caroline had a t in it). What defines her this year uniquely? She spends hours and hours every week out on the hammock swing listening to music on her ipod. That girl was born to swim and fly… and she only visits the land now and then.

Meredith… Mere-Mere… or most properly: The Mere. She is who she has always been which is a strong willed and yet tender and caring individual. The Mountain Goat is her spirit animal. She excels at school… and being different than anyone else. I think that is her life goal. To never travel a trail… but to always make her own with flair and agility (and when that won’t work.. to simply bust on through).

Danielle is joy to everyone… except maybe her immediate family. But I wish I could capture the sheer joy with which she does everything… and I’d give my life to make sure she doesn’t lose that. She is a Valkyrie on the soccer field, an amazing helper in the kitchen, a smotherer (with love) of dogs, and can take forever to put to bed because she has to first tuck in 20 some dolls and stuffed animals for whom she has made their own beds out of pieces of cloth and cardboard.

Like I said… we’re good. But…

The flip side is it feels like all the little things went horrible or were way more a time suck than they should have been in this last year… last 3 years actually. I joke.. but my house and yard are literally falling apart. My neighbors are annoyed because there is now a wire stretched across the road to get us internet (which Caroline requires for work) because the line under the road is dead and they don’t want to dig it up for just our house. And that’s just one example that seems to define so much of our life from a functional aspect.

Work feels like swimming upstream and uphill for both Caroline and me… I don’t think either of us really admit that because we love our jobs… but its been a year in which that work felt… a lot like work. We can point to things that we wish we could fix but cannot… and we live in frustration about our own futility. It’s hard to sit idle around people in pain, or systems that are broken, but… what do you do when there is nothing that can be done? Which gets me to the swirling maelstrom that is the world around us. I feel very strongly that many of the justice issues of our day have hit devastating roadblocks that make me question the reality of many of my primary values: connectedness, love, and the “common good”. I find it hard to wake up in the morning in a good mood… and yet personally we have nothing to complain about because we are all good.

This has been 2018. I’m really not sad to put it behind me. But just as I’m sure my kids will have another great 2019… I don’t imagine the shadows of these ills will be a thing of the past either. So… what does one resolve to do in the face of this… how do we find that energy to continue to pursue hope, love, and justice?

I found my wisdom just in time from the strangest of sources. The movie Aquaman. Without spoiling the plot in the movie a husband who has been separated from his wife spends every morning at sunrise walking out to the end of the dock in the ocean to wait for the day his wife joins him there as promised. Every day he walks out there… and every day he stands alone… waiting for the beloved who doesn’t show. Every day. And yet he keeps walking out there. And I realized something. Every day my dock is full. It is abundantly full. Maybe its not as many people as I’d like. Maybe some of them come bearing more weight and baggage than I’d like. But my dock is full. Friends, family, coworkers. And they are out there for us, each and every day. And that is enough. All the other things… all those little things. They aren’t what I will remember in twenty years. And maybe sooner than later I will learn to not let them bug me even now. But what matters the most is that my dock is full with people who share my values and together we will not give up on hope. We will continue to pursue justice with love, and more than a little joy along the journey.

So here is what I hope to leave you all with as we make this transition from 2018 to 2019. Who is it that you wish to join you on your dock when you walk out there each day? Who powers up your day so that morning is brimming with more hope than despair? And on whose dock are you showing up?

So many of you made appearances in so many ways on the Kukla dock this last year. We thank you for it. We are grateful for the constant reminder that together we shall overcome all things… or, at the least, survive them. And its you – sharing in the journey of us – that gives us peace. So a happy send off to 2018… and 2019? Bring it on.

With Love,

The Kuklas

About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on December 31, 2018, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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