When a year ends, I think of the highlights that stood out for me personally as well as for our community.
Personally, I was able to enjoy some special times with family such as my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary in August, shorter and longer weekend celebrations with family and my second live concert featuring Irish Christian musician Robin Mark. I also added a four-legged member to my family this year, Ebony, a sweet big black lab mix who likes soft places to rest. Freckles and Boca Burger are still not happy about her, but they tolerate her, and that’s better than fisticuffs.
On the broader community level, we enjoyed celebrations like Adams State College’s transition to a university and the announcement of its first doctoral program, Rio Grande Reservoir’s 100th anniversary celebration, a huge conservation easement on the Trinchera Ranch and the filming of a portion of “Lone Ranger” in Creede, complete with Johnny Depp himself. There were victories and defeats in the November election, with two school districts passing initiatives that will improve their facilities and enable them to keep their doors open.
We experienced sadness this year as well. We lost folks in accidents, homicides and other tragedies, many people were laid off at the mushroom farm, and drought continued to make it difficult for farmers to produce crops.
One of the most touching stories of the year was the loss of three teenagers the last Saturday in April. Serina Sena and Selena Mascarenas were both 14. Anisa Montoya was 18. They were leaving a church event when they were killed by a drunk driver in Pueblo. Anisa, Alamosa High School’s senior class president, had bought a dress that day in Pueblo for her upcoming graduation. She would be buried in it instead.
Her father, a pastor, spoke to hundreds of mourners in the high school gymnasium several days later and encouraged them to think about eternity because no one has a guarantee of a long life.
Anisa was a Tim Tebow fan and had wanted the football star and Christian role model to attend her graduation. That wish reached Tebow, and he surprised the Alamosa High School Class of 2012 with a videotaped message especially for them.
Speaking of all three teens, he said, “You had amazing lives. You had lives of significance and lives of meaning.”
He was especially touched and inspired by the life of Anisa who would have graduated that Saturday morning, exactly a month to the day after she was killed.
He told her fellow graduates, who saved an empty seat for her, “Have a life of significance, have a life of meaning like Anisa did. She was your president, she was your friend. Now let her be your inspiration, and let her be your leader with how she lived, and let her be someone that pushes you to do more, to give more, to be better, to care about people more and ultimately be someone that has a life of significance.”
He left the class with the quote, “I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future, and in that there’s peace, and in that there’s comfort, and in that there’s hope.”
Serina, Selena and Anisa knew Who held their future. Their lives had significance because they lived them not for themselves but for God.
As I end one year and enter another, I am inspired by Tim Tebow’s words and the teenagers who prompted them …
“… Have a life of significance, have a life of meaning …”