Today marks my 26th orbit of the star known on this planet as “The Sun.” 26 years ago, in this nearly exact relative location to the aforementioned star, I came screaming into the world, most likely unbidden by myself, with no return to the warm place I had been the previous nine months.

Again, the year has been a good one. I’ve made some new friends, learned a lot about myself, started what may be a long-overdue therapy treatment, what have been long overdue visits to various doctors of other specialties, and avoided losing friends in ways that I have lost friends, albeit temporarily, in the past. So while it has been a good year for me, it has been a bit of a ride as well.

This last orbit was supposed to be about The Gathering, or at least I had hoped that it would be. It has turned into less than that and more a year of finding out more about who I am in the first place.

In the last year, I’ve grappled with both feeling and being alone, the boundaries between a strong friendship and romance, posting to this site on a regular basis, choosing battles at work, getting hired, and many other things not mentioned in this domain. But I have also found prayers answered through some choices I have made.

Jesus has been present.

But I still don’t know what that means, exactly. I can look back and see it, but while the past was present, it wasn’t something I could see.

“Jesus has been present” is sometimes something one says in the hopes that one day it won’t be something one just says.

In the meantime, the reality is beginning to confront me that two of my friends faced cancer in this last year. One of them is in the midst of it right now and it remains to be seen exactly how that will all turn out. We have high hopes and many prayers. The work of healing is apparent when we see the face of this man. Yet, it still happened and I am the same age. It could easily have been me. It could easily be me. If it ever is, I can only hope that I have half the strength I’ve seen these last weeks.

Jesus is present.

And so the next orbit begins with a future even more uncertain than any before it.

Two years ago, I thought that I would be married by now (though I wasn’t sure to who). And I’m not married. Yet.

Last year, I guessed that this last orbit would surprise me. And it has. Nothing I ever expected happened. Everything that did happen was unexpected. It wasn’t often what I wanted, but that was part of the surprise.

This is now orbit 27. A nicer number to me than 26, but it feels like the beginning a downhill rush on a bicycle without brakes. There are things out of control in the orbit of my life; a larger number of variables and unknowns than there have been before. My prediction for this dance is no prediction other than Jesus will be present.

Maybe next year, I won’t just be saying it.