7 Things I Learned This Spring
Reflection is a powerful teacher in helping us to pay attention as we take note of what is happening within and around us. This post launches a new series where we will spend time reflecting on the past season before stepping into the next. In sharing what I learned, my hope is you too will be encouraged to pause and reflect.
Reflection has become an increasingly important piece of my life in serving as a reminder of where I have been and what life is teaching me through it. Reflection reminds me to pay attention to my life so I can fully grasp what to take forward and what to leave behind; to pause and acknowledge the growth and change within me.
When life is turned upside down by the unexpected, reflection enables us to more clearly see what is happening inside of us within the mess. Some lessons we’ll recognize right away; others take time to process. As we pay attention to our lives, eventually, we become molded and shaped by those lessons.
While I have discovered that reflection isn’t always comfortable, it is always worthwhile.
Emily P. Freeman is the beautiful soul who initiated the “What We Learned” seasonal practice of reflection. You can view her reflections here.
As history is being made, here’s what I’ve been learning:
1. Sourdough is in fact all the rage.
I suppose I am “one of those people.” Learning how to bake bread from scratch has been an intention of mine for years. Lucky for me, right before the stay-at-home orders, a sourdough book on hold at the library became available. We got to work. The verdict: homemade bread is worth the effort.
2. A conquered to-do list won’t ease an ache in my soul.
I found myself believing that a conquered to-do-list would somehow make me feel better about the state of the world. As I worked my way through a lengthy, impossible-to-complete list, it didn’t take me long to realize no amount of achieving was going to satisfy the ache. I stopped trying so hard to push through and instead started leaning in.
3. Real-life connection is not replaceable.
One of my neighbors organized a few socially distant get-togethers. We pulled up chairs, put our dogs on leashes, and gathered at the end of our respective driveways. From a safe distance, we laughed, shared memories, and experienced human connection in a time when it was sparse. Maybe for the first time, I noted how I took gathering with friends and family for granted.
4. Looking up gives me a renewed perspective.
When hope felt sparse, I shifted my gaze upward. A renewed perspective awaited me each time. Buds on trees waiting to bloom. The sun rising yet another day. Birds perched on branches continuing to sing beautiful melodies.
5. It’s never too late to try again.
I was possibly a little too eager when it came to gardening this year. The first lettuce seeds were dropped into the ground in March and my excitement was out of bounds a few weeks later when the first sprouts emerged. Three weeks later my excitement faltered when I realized I had planted leaf lettuce as if it were head lettuce. The ten tiny sprouts I was certain would provide lettuce all summer long were only going to produce enough to fill a small salad bowl. I accepted my mistake and planted more. Lots of tiny shoots are now playing catchup.
6. I can have the courage to do things scared.
I shared this reflection on Instagram after an in-person doctor appointment:
I walked into the hospital scared and breathed a huge sigh of relief after it was over.
All I did was routine bloodwork—and I felt completely safe the full 15 minutes in the hospital—but the 24 hours prior? I was a complete mess. My emotions ran the full gamut.
Life often requires us to do things scared. The good news is that within those scary things, God goes with us. We don’t have to face them alone. Believing this doesn’t always take away the fear, but it does give us the courage to move forward.
What courageous step have you taken knowing God goes with you?
7. I must listen before I respond.
Instead of truly listening, I often find myself half-listening while crafting the response I want to share. Maybe it’s a response to my craving for more interaction, but maybe it’s just a flaw in my nature I’m finally recognizing. Either way, my eyes have been opened and I am now aware that I have fallen short and must do better to truly listen to voices that need to be heard.
For additional reflections, scroll to the bottom of Emily’s most recent post.