Vision: Looking Back, Looking Forward
With January 1st comes the age-old question, “Do you have any resolutions for the new year?” Rather tired of this question, I decided to rebel. No, not really, but I am in fact still processing 2010 and tracing the hand of God over the year. Why? In order to assess the condition of my faith and pray over 2011. Ever looking forward, I really want to spend a few days looking back.
We have to look back in order to look forward. Both merge into our life map and help us see where we are going.
I do this by:
I’ve been perusing my journal and desk calendar, both chock full of notes, quotes, and anecdotes, that define 2010. From this research (smile), I have created my very own TOP TEN/2010 list of God’s movement in my life. I use some other markers to help me with my life map:
- a time line of important quotes gathered
- people I’ve met
- challenges faced
- opportunities and opened doors
- closed doors
- new experiences
- answered prayers
- struggles within my own soul
“You can kiss your family and friends
good-bye and put miles between you,
but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart,
your mind, your stomach, because you do not just
live in a world but a world lives in you” (Frederick Buechner).
Looking back, then, over 2010, I first and foremost see a very key theme:
- Never give up on anyone or any relationship. Do what you can, when you can, and when you have done all you can, let it go. It’s futile to force any relationship to happen.
[See “Lifelong Friendships” from January 10, 2010, http://janellrardon.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/lifelong-friendships/).
“Sometimes it is the person closest to us who must travel the farthest distance to be our friend” (Robert Brault).
- Getting closer to my brother. With an age gap of a little over 8 years, my brother and I have always been years apart, both physically and emotionally, but 2009 and the beginning of 2010, brought time to develop a relationship—all before he left for Japan, where he will be working for 3-5 years!
- Getting closer to my sister. With an age gap of a little over 6 years, I’m not sure my entrance into the family was a party. But, this year, my sister and I have grown closer. Watching her be a grandmother has been sweet. I’m now a Great-Aunt, which, yes, is a bit daunting. Am I really old enough for all this?
- Letting go of unhealthy relationships where I “bear a responsibility” that isn’t mine to bear. Tough, yes, but essential for true emotional health. I tend to think I must save the world. Who do I think I am? Seriously. There is only ONE God and he reigns over all.
“Man is a knot into which relationships are tied” (Antoine de Saint-Exuperty, 1942).
“Trouble is part of your life, and if you don’t share it,
you don’t give the person who
loves you enough chance to love you enough.”
- At my nephew’s wedding, family came together for the first time in a long time. From my perspective, which is the only one I can write about, it was good to be able to be and hang out with my dear Aunt, Uncle, cousin and his family, after so many years of disconnect—for which I take full responsibility. I’ve made so many mistakes in this arena. Perhaps I will write more about that later, but in essence, life seems to take over and unless you make a real hard effort to come together, it most likely won’t happen. I’m the first in line when it comes to that scenario and realize the importance of making it happen. Growing up with an alcoholic father wasn’t easy and it definitely has its repercussions, but with healing, hard work and heaven on my side, I know change can and will happen.
It’s Never Too Late to Have a Happy Family
Isn’t it comforting that God intervenes into the fabric of our lives when we have done nothing but make foolish mistakes? In our blindness, he restores sight. It is never too late to have a happy family. I repeat, never give up on anyone or any relationship. Do what you can, when you can, and when you have done all you can, let it go. It’s futile to force any relationship to happen. Instead of forcing, pray fervently, work on your own life and heart, and if and when necessary, seek help from a professional who can walk you through to the other side.