Can you smell that? That’s 2009 coming to an end…Thank God.

I’d like to pretend that I’m doing this because I was sitting here with a glass of wine, in front of a glowing fire, pondering the year as it comes to a close, thoughtfully perusing a bank of warm memories with a smile on my lips and a heavy sigh of satisfaction for a year well-lived.

I mean, I was sitting here (by “here” I mean “in the Thunder Valley Casino”, and by “Thunder Valley Casino”, I mean “smoke-filled, love-child of a trailer-park and a Filipino tour-bus, complete with all-you-can-eat buffet where I just ate my weight in fried cat-fish and lemon-meringue pie), and it was with a glass of wine (okay, it was a $4 bottle of beer), and my face was bathed in a soft glow (you know, from the penny slots). But, I have to say, I really wasn’t reminiscing, like, at all. Mostly I was just watching lucky number 7 go round again and again (perhaps a little too hopeful that the complimentary $5 in slot-play they gave me for eating in the buffet would allow me to change the title of this blog to “Jamie the Very Richest Missionary”), and taking it all in…. It reminded me that I’m pretty relieved to see this year…just…end.

It’s been a tough one for me.

It wasn’t a complete loss, but it was a doozie of a year. It’s like, Yes, It does bite ass when someone steals your car and then tries to extort you for it’s return, but then, by some crazyness, you get it back, and through the whole ugly mess (which you should have blogged but didn’t because you’re not allowed to use the “F” word on your blog and you couldn’t even touch that story without it) you learned that your values have changed immensely and that you’re not just learning about what’s important, but you’re actually living it without really having to try that hard any more and that’s kinda cool. So it was hard, but also good.

Or, it’s like this. On my top ten list of shitty things that happened this year, is the time I took the bus home from work after cleaning rooms and making beds up for an incoming group, and I looked really nasty (a big no-no for girls riding the bus in Costa Rica) and some diptard teenagers started loudly joking around that I was gross (which, admittedly, was true) and that I was probably a transvestite prostitute (let’s just say that a sports-bra is not exactly a flattering look for me). So, I got off the bus and cried the whole walk home. Which, naturally, made me even uglier. But, while it sucked to be called out on my physical short-comings…loudly….on crowded public transit….that wasn’t really why I was crying. I was really crying because that morning El Chupacabra and I had had one of those whacked-out screaming matches that I’m pretty sure other missionaries don’t have (or don’t admit to having) so I was already feeling kind of disliked before I got on the bus, and then those guys just kinda pushed me over the edge. But the thing with my husband, and then on the bus, and the crying thing afterward, helped me remember who’s love I really need, who’s attention I should be seeking, who is jealous for me, who values me because he knows me intimately and perfectly and he has chosen to love me anyway. So again, really freakin lame, but good in the end.

Does that make sense?

This year has been so incredibly full of moments like those. Lot’s of drama. Lot’s of learning. And, to be honest, I’m just really tired of it all. Worn down, I guess, is a better choice of words. I’d like the drama to stop, and I’d like to apply some of the learning. I’m just too beat to do both at once, and I don’t even have it bad. I mean, there was this, and then of course there was this this. And who could forget this? But, I’m grateful that that’s as bad as it’s been. Okay – There have been worse things….like a couple of things, either too painful or too private to write about here…but overall, I feel like I can chalk up the last 12 months as a big fat success. A bitter, anxiety filled, financially devastating, ridiculously ill-fated success.

So basically what I’m getting at is that I really sucked at life this year. And then God redeemed it.

I’ve always thought of God as, like, a super hero, to swoop in and save the day when we are on the brink of absolute ruin. And I’ve always heard Christians say things like “I hit rock-bottom and then God came to my rescue.” But, I’ve never really given much thought to the fact that He’s also there, cleaning up our messes (our our messiness) when stuff is just sorta crappy. That is, until I had a sorta generally crappy year. This year. Crappy 2009, I like to call it. I’ve realized that, at least right now, I don’t need a God that can “save” cause I don’t really need to be “rescued”, and I don’t need to be “found” either, cause I haven’t been “lost” in years. Mostly, I just need to not suck so much.

If you’re ever in the mood to see the pure face of humanity, I highly suggest that you go hang out in a Casino. This is the place where excess looks desperation square in the face and smiles, where gluttony mingles with starvation, where gratification hitches arms with depression. And this is not a cancer ward. This is no concentration camp. What you will see, after your senses adjust to the sour boozy smell and these stupid bells and lights, and then through the swirling haze of Marlboro and Camel and American Spirit, you will see a bunch of people that just generally…suck. They need Him, too, the God that redeems those who just kinda suck. Have you met this God? I have. In fact, I think I can say I’ve gotten to know him pretty well in 2009.

So anyway, this was a really long, and dumb way to say Happy New Year. Welcome to the world Twenty-Ten. I’m excited to see what aspect of God you’ll be introducing to me this year. Ooh, ooh, but if my opinion counts at all, I think I’d like to get to know God as, like, a “generous provider”….Whaddaya think 2010? Can you hook a missionary up??



  1. kathy on January 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Happy New Year, my friend.

  2. Anonymous on January 1, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I can relate. 2009 was a HUGE, miserable success that I would NEVER like to repeat. The sad thing for me, is that at this moment, 2010 is not looking like a year for me to jump up and down about. I really, really hope and trust (though my FEELINGS don't match up!) that my HUGE God can redeem 2010 as well. Love you and miss you… AND, by the way, thanks for the use of the Hyundai "SXE Beast." It worked great for the beach trip EXCEPT that we had a flat tire before we managed to get out of the CM gate and we could find no jack or a key to access the spare. No harm done, though! – Su

  3. deemus on January 2, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I needed to hear that.

    I had a sucky 09 too. Lost mom, and was so depressed I forgot to bill my clients for 3 months. only when I didn't have any cash did I realize it. lost my father in law. and the guy I bought my business from solicited all the clients I purchased from him 3 years ago, a month after his non-compete ran out. so technically nothing illegal, but a turd-head move just the same.

    my virtuos woman daughter got pregnant, then married the guy. I know it happens all the time, but I thought she would be the one to make it to marriage without having a kid. when you are holding that little sweet baby in your arms at the hospital, you are not thinking, "I hope she gets pregnant out of wedlock one day."

    I finally woke up last month. 2010 is gonna be a good one. I feel it coming…

  4. Dad on January 4, 2010 at 1:39 am

    The past year was like a coffee table book. Some pictures were fun and interesting, others less so. But, there was one "page" in my metaphorical coffee table book that made the whole year wonderful for me. That was the very last "snapshot" in the book. It encompassed two weeks with all my loved ones close by. I enjoyed my time with you, your kids, Grandma Sault and all the others. I know it was exhausting for you and your family, bouncing from place to place, and adjusting to the constantly changing circumstances of the visit. But, selfishly, I cherished every moment with you, Steve and the kids. Thank you for making it happen.

    Love ya, Dad (your "biggest" fan)


  5. Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary on January 7, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Hey deemus,

    It's taken me awhile, but I've been meaning to let you know how sorry I was to read of your truly difficult year. It's sounds incredibly painful.
    I hope and pray that 2010 holds more for you by way of the Peace, Joy and Provision of God.

    And congratulations for your new grand-baby on the way! This child will surely bring you many smiles this year! I wanted to remind you that when you are holding your little sweet grandbaby in the hospital for the first time, you will not be thinking "You were conceived out of wedlock." You will be reveling in the miracle and blessing of this new life that God has blessed you all with…. Enjoy it!

    All the best to you and your family in Twenty-Ten!!!! 🙂

  6. Anonymous on February 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Reading your blog for the first time today and laughing the whole time! Identifying with the various things you've written about. I've been in missions for about 2 years now! Keep up the sharings – pray that God will use your blog to help people see that God doesn't need us to be perfect before He can use us, He wants people who are after His heart! 🙂

  7. seth on June 24, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Love your blog. Hope 2010 is smelling better. Missionaries need to be more human to be effective. Used to mission projects out of Camp Roblealto. Built a Pentecostal church there in Heredia.

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