Here's to good friends...

This weekend, SWMBO and I went to dinner with a group of our closest friends in what has become an annual New Year's event. We always use this time to reflect on the prior year and look toward the coming one.

We usually sit around and talk about the major things that have happened to us during the year and try to predict what will happen soon or what we have planned in the new year.

While we still did all of that, this dinner had a slightly different tone. You see, this year has been an especially turbulent one. As a group, we've had to deal with issues that we were woefully unprepared for and, as individuals, have all been affected in different ways. We try to understand how those in the midst of the fire must feel, but know that we can't without going through it ourselves.

It's been difficult at times knowing what to say and when to just keep quiet. It's been awkward at times wondering whether you could ask a certain question or other without butting your nose in. There have also been the maddening times where you think back and second guess yourself at every turn, trying to see something in the stream of life that you could have done differently to try to keep these things from happening. And I know it continues to be frustrating to all of us knowing that there's nothing we can do that will change the landscape.

What we can do, however, and what I think we have been able to do is make that landscape a nicer place in which to be. The people around that table have had a profound impact on my life. They are a part of who I am and my life would have a huge void in it were they not there. So we try to show our friends how much we love them. We make sure they know that, even though some things have changed, our friendship is as strong as ever. And we have a terrific New Year's dinner together, just like we always do, and hope to for many years to come.

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[Ed. Note] - Sorry if this seems like totally incoherent babbling, but it gave me a cathartic outlet that I haven't had for a while.