Reflecting [Not My Home part 12]

Done. Over. End.

The year has finished.

It’s bittersweet. Time went both fast and slow. Reconnecting back “home” will be sweet but disconnecting here was hard.

It has been an eye opening journey to take an eternal view, seeing the temporary of earthly life through temporarily dwelling in Florida. My hope of Heaven is colored more vividly. My lens of life has been polished to clarity.

The richest time has come in reflecting. Reflecting on my year in #notmyhome.

This year was unique – the beginning and ending were both clearly defined, groups were assigned, expectations were clear, roles were started and stopped.

But, the value of reflection isn’t limited to such an experience. It’s a practice I intend to pack up and take with me. For other experiences, big and small. And as a routine practice as school years or calendar years begin and end, as seasons of life start and stop, as journeys open and close.

Reflection provides closure.

Not just closure, but celebration. Not just celebration, but memory. Not just memory, but hope. Not just hope, but glory. Not just glory, but affirmation. Not just affirmation, but expression. Not just expression, but honor. Not just honor, but direction. Not just direction, but beauty.

Reflection is a remarkable thing. It’s a chance to look back and look forward, all at the same time.

As I walk through life, I’ll scope out more and new ideas to celebrate, to memorialize, to affirm, to express, to honor. Here is a sampling of what helps me reflect. The Reflection 10.

Reflection10

Write it. If you love to write, write. If you “don’t write,” write. If you are afraid to write, write. If you don’t know what to write, write. Then, do whatever you want with it – publish it, share it, edit it, frame it, file it, hide it, even trash it. But write. Write in first person, second person, third person. Try all three. You’ll get a different flavor and find a different voice. Hand-write or type. Write sentences or words or phrases or questions. Write a story, bullet points, a letter, a prayer, a newsletter, a poem. Write for five minutes or for five hours.

Joshua-Stone it. 

And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.
He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers,
‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’”
Joshua 4:20-22

Take something physical and mark it with words. Do it all at once or over time. Sharpie small stones or even foam cups. Make a tower of cups or fill a bowl with stones. Making it physical allows it to be appropriately dramatic.

Timeline it. You may think you’ll always remember the significant pieces. In time, you’ll forget. Draw a line, draw a curve, draw it however you want! Mark dates – even if you aren’t sure you’ll ever care. Give yourself permission to include anything and to not include everything. Include stuff that makes you smile, stuff that makes you cry, stuff that makes you giggle. Go back and reread old texts, emails and journals. Include significant moments with significant people. Notice themes and threads.

Top 10 it. Channel your inner-David-Letterman and make Top 10 lists for your experience/circumstance/time-frame. Adjust as needed. The number ten is not magical. 10 locations. 10 songs. 10 people. 10 books. 10 words. 10 realizations. 10 funs. 10 messages. 10 things you want to forget. 10 wisdoms/truths. 10 embarrassments. 10 mistakes. 10 new skills. 10 fails. 10 discoveries. 10 foods. 10 disappointments. 10 sights. 10 sounds. 10 objects. 10 smells. 10 quotes. Invent other lists that fit.

Art it. Set aside any denial of artistic ability and just go for it. Draw. Paint pottery. Make a collage. Comb Pinterest for a craft. Make an ornament, some wall art, a frame, a bookmark. Use color and shapes and lines and words and images to symbolize what has been. Then, display it prominently or privately.

Location it. Go somewhere(s) to sink the reflection in. Move from place to place, reflecting on different parts. If you are moving from a home, sit in each room. If you are wrapping up a semester/year/summer/era, go back to significant places. Reflect about what happened in each room or place. Use these distinct physical places to add texture to your reflection.

Photo it. Represent with photos. Limit yourself to an arbitrary number, such as ten (again, not magical.) Create categories and pick a photo for each. Print the photos and do something with them. Display them or file them. Let them remind you of what was. A friend of mine makes a page with her husband for each year of their marriage, highlighting what has happened that year in photos and words. A beautiful way to celebrate and reflect.

Time Capsule it. Call the 80s and ask to borrow this concept. Be it a box or a capsule-looking container, fill it with any of the above as well as other relevant things. Don’t expect generations of your descendants to find it and make sense of it. It’s for 10/20/30-years-from-now-you. Instead of burying it in the backyard, hide it in some closet or drawer (like the spice cabinet!) which gets cleaned out once a decade. Or simply write yourself a letter and seal it to be opened on a future date.

Remind it. Reflecting is not just about the past. Reflect it forward. What do you want to be reminded of in the next season, experience or place? Make visible reminders. Post-it notes. Display your art, your writing, your photos. Pull out words or wisdoms or lessons or truths or quotes or songs or images that will allow the past to keep impacting your future.

Share it. Find ways to reflect alongside others, too. Sometimes, groups can naturally reflect together. Otherwise, invite trusted friends to hear/see bits of your reflection. Affirm the roles others have played. Or even to be part of the process. Invite others to reflect with you. Learn from their process and their reflection.

Some experiences or time-frames deserve reflection from every angle. This year, I reflected in every way I imaginable. It won’t always be that way. Sometimes, it will be short and sweet and other times, endless and epic.

Reflection has a beautiful way of closing the door softly and memorably as we step into a new room. Much better than hearing “don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”

[What ideas help you reflect!]

Part 1: Passing Through
Part 2: Homesicking
Part 3: Purposing
Part 4: Familiaring
Part 5: Identifying
Part 6: Hoarding
Part 7: Simplifying
Part 8: Investing
Part 9: Sojourning
Part 10: Borrowing
Part 11: Departing
[This post is #12, the final post in the #notmyhome series]

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