The Gifts of Reflection

see or seemThis morning I woke to tears. I also woke thankful I knew myself well enough to realize that what I needed to share in my session last night would be a bit like stripping back my skin to reveal a festering wound inside, a place I had not yet come to terms with in my past. It is one I know I need to find a way to face and heal if I am going to ever get pass the anxiety which lives as an unwelcome guest inside. I woke thankful because I had taken the needed day today so that I could work through this before I teach my students again.

As I came to my computer to write, a blog by one of my Challenge writing friends and a comment on one of my posts untied the ribbon and pulled back the paper on another gift for Mindful May – the gift of reflection. I will list the blog at the end of this post should you also need Sharon’s reminder that the Psalms help us accept our feelings and take them to God. The comment from Rhonda saw creativity in another post and offered this analysis,” How does one write more reflectively etc, etc. It’s probably giving oneself the space and grace to not take life so seriously.”

I had never thought of it in those terms. Writing reflectively, even from places of pain is an act of giving yourself space and grace. Telling the truths of my life and letting those truths lead me to how I can live more freely and be a better person to others is an unmerited act of mercy within a space that helps me to grow from that knowledge.

I don’t enjoy the skin prickles and the clenched stomach in moments like this. I just know that to leave this moment like this won’t solve anything and to bury it will just leave it to come back later. I think writing reflectively is, in some ways, my defense mechanism to not let the serious moments in my life win out in the overall mindset of my living.

There is too much beauty in life to enjoy and in the past I spent too much time using my energy to hold down all the things I didn’t want to look at. Students often are my teachers in these things as the things they bring to me force me to look inside for answers.

Years ago, I had a student who couldn’t turn in any papers that had even one mistake. Grading was done by walking around and checking her work as she was doing an assignment since, like all human beings, perfection was not something that she could do consistently. I often spent some one-on-one time listening and talking with her while I got small jobs done around the class during a part of my lunch break.

In one of these sessions I made a mistake in a word for a wall chart. As I started to get up to get the whiteout to cover it up I stopped. Instead I crossed out the word with a line and continued writing.

“You mean teachers make mistakes?” was her surprised response.

“We make them all the time,” I answered, continuing to write on the page.

“What do you do when you make a mistake? “she queried.

“I look at it, learn from it, let it go and move on” was my reply.

DSC09388bThe rest of that conversation would sear that student in my heart and mind as she shared the “mistake” she struggled to forgive herself for, one that was not even something needing forgiveness.

Right now, it is my turn. With the help of my counselour I have to come to the place of forgiving myself for what God has already let me know is forgiven from God’s end. It will take time but it is possible. I have had the privilege of meeting that student as an adult and I have had the privilege of knowing that my time in her life was a part of her healing. She has become a young mother I deeply admire.

My second mindful gift in May is the space and grace that reflection gives us in our lives and those who are there to remind us of that.


Sharon Rose Gibson, “Someone cares when you’re distressed.

Rhonda’s comment on Mindful May,




4 thoughts on “The Gifts of Reflection

  1. Sharon Rose Gibson

    Very beautifully written and expressed! This is such a beautiful concept, “Writing reflectively, even from places of pain is an act of giving yourself space and grace. I also love the fact that you were there for the young girl to give her permission to make mistakes. That truth would have saved me a lot of anguish in my life. What a gift to give to her. I’m glad you were part of her healing.
    I’m glad you’re giving yourself this space and thanks for sharing so vulnerably and beautifully.

    1. ljandrie57 Post author

      Thank you, Sharon. Sometimes it is really scary doing so. I understand what you mean about understanding the unpopularity of it. I think that is what is stopping me from even thinking about a book right now. I need to be able to write from this honest place because I hear from others out there that need to see hope in the darkness as well. I truly appreciate you.


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