I'm very excited again this week to join a talented group of women bloggers in an online, unedited flash mob free write. This week, the word-prompt given to us by our fearless leader Kate Motaung (whose wonderful blog can be found at katemotaung.com) is reflect. My timer is set for 5 minutes; ready, set,
Reflect. I would bet that, if we were somehow able to track this sort of thing, we'd find that the word reflect sees more usage in December, particularly the latter 1/2 of the month, than it does in the entire previous 11 months. December is a time we're all encouraged to look back over the year this drawing to a close, to ponder the good -- our accomplishments, the fun times -- as well as the not so good.
The whole point, or at least what I think is the purpose,of this time of reflection is to pause for a moment and celebrate those moments that perhaps a person didn't have time to celebrate in the busy-ness of the moment or perhaps didn't celebrate because, at the time, he/she couldn't see that the moment was worthy of celebration. With the distance of even a few months and the perspective they bring, time can be spent celebrating and its importance can be seen.
Conversely, this time of reflection allows a person to look back objectively on those moments that were not celebratory and perhaps see patterns of behavior that need attention. Perhaps the behavior is directly that of the reflector (how's that for overly-formal language!); perhaps the reflector can see that he/she has a habit of making commitments and not following through on them.
Perhaps, the behavior is in response to another person's behavior. A friend told me this time last year, that as she reflected on 2014, she realized that she had, time and again, covered for her teens' seemingly-inconsequential rule-breaking in order to keep their father from finding out about behavior that didn't bother her but did violate family rules they had all agreed on. She told me had to face the fact that she had disrespected her husband by her dishonesty in not expressing at the appropriate time how she really felt about the rule and by lying to him. Similarly, she disrespected her teens by teaching them that breaking the rules is okay if you disagree with them, lying to someone is okay if you think the reason is worthy of a lie, and (more specifically) by modeling to her teens what an unhealthy marriage relationship looks like.
Reflection can be a good thing.
It can be a very dangerous thing as well.
As I reflected back on 2014 near the end of last December, I was forced to face the fact that I spent much of the year reflecting on the past, focusing on what my life used to be, on what our family used to be, on what was no more. As a result, I mourned the past when I should have been living the present.
I think that was normal for where I was at the time. Who knows.
But in 2015, I made an effort to look back only briefly and only in healthy ways.
So now, near the end of 2015, I reflect on whether or not I've done that.
Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. And again, I think that's pretty normal for my circumstances. Hopefully, prayerfully, in 2016 I'll be more consistent in looking to the past in healthy ways.
And this time next year, I'll reflect again to see how well I've done.