Sitting down to write this article is bittersweet for me. Looking back over the past year, thinking about the memories and special moments that I wanted to share, as always my need for it to be meaningful and insightful in the hopes that it might help someone else; but opening up has always been a struggle for me. Writing is a solitary practice, my creative process I can’t explain even on my best days. My original intention for writing this was with the hope to inspire others to take stock of their past year through an exercise of shared memories between themselves and others. I didn’t realize at the time what a challenge it would be and I’m still grasping for the meaning of it all as I write this now.
I loosely explained the basis for my article and asked ten close friends a simple question. “Tell me about the best or happiest memory you have of me this year.” I wanted to reflect upon what I was doing well in my relationships with the people I was closest to and hopefully grow that in the coming year. It was a great idea in theory. My execution however; completely flawed. So I’ve spent two weeks second guessing myself. Did I not ask the right people or did I not ask the right question? Did I have expectations? I didn’t think so, but hearing some of the answers to the questions certainly left me feeling more than a little vulnerable about my relationships with these ten people whose insight I valued over any others’.
I was surprised to receive some superficial answers. Even more surprised by the people who never even responded to my question. It was disheartening, discouraging and utterly depressing. I examined the possible reasons why in a very Elliot Reed (from Scrubs) fashion, internalizing, examining and yes, definitely overthinking. Did these people really think so little of me? I’ll admit that I am a prideful person, so yes, this has been difficult. I believe in always giving more than what you take. I try my best to be loving, supportive and generous to everyone, and do my best to never ask of or expect anything in return. Some days that is a struggle, but I’m going to also admit to being a very flawed and imperfect human being and ask for forgiveness on that.
So as I reflected on the past year, I considered not how I had helped a few people who were willing to share with me the warmth and kindness of their thoughts about me. Instead I reflected on just how far I have yet to go to be the person that I want to be; the friend that I want to be. I will remain a work in progress with that not just in the coming year, but my entire life.
That morning, a friend had shared with me a link to Our Daily Bread Devotionals, thinking I would appreciate the post regarding being a work in progress. I wanted to include the devotional because I did of course appreciate not only the words, but how special it was that my friend had taken the time to share it with me. So I hopped over to ODB at 12:05 am, and their site had already updated with the next day’s devotional… And my mind was blown with the new message, as it reflected just exactly what I have yet to be able to articulate with this entire experience. The kind of person I want to be. The kind of friend I want to be. I couldn’t have expressed it any better than these two devotionals have done other than to include my own experience.
I asked for ten moments on which I could measure and improve myself. But the real test of this exercise was in the reaching out to others for their help, putting faith in others to reach back to me. That is what I hope to improve about myself in the coming year.