Looking Forward Looking Back

At the turn of a year it is customary to reflect on the past and plan for the future. I am not a big fan of “resolutions” since, like most, I tend to forget about them and they fall, unnoticed and forgotten, to the wayside. I do, however, try to set some new goals and make some subtle changes that will, hopefully, make me a better person in some way.

This last year has been a year of firsts for me. I began by running my first 10k on New Years Day and since got very into trail running. I have completed 2 ten mile races, my first 1/2 marathon and my first marathon. I also climbed Half-Dome, which was both a physical and mental challenge, since I have a fear of heights. I guess I should also include the fact that I got my first tattoo, challenging my fear of needles and a general dislike of pain. My only “resolution” was running that 10k on the first day of the year.

This year started with running again, but the 10 mile course this time. I am signed up to run a 50k (31 miles) in March and the Tough Mudder obstacle course in Tahoe in September. I am considering another ascent to the top of Half Dome, but I would like to run it this time.

For the past several years, in lieu of a resolution, I have picked a word. One word to set a theme for the year. Honestly, I usually forget the word long before the year is over, but it sometimes comes back to me and I remember what my focus was to be and try to refocus and redirect. In recent years I have chosen ‘confidence,’ ‘peace,’ and ‘courage.’ This year, as I reflect on the tough year it has been in many areas of my life and the lives of those around me and on the way I have reacted to it at times, I have chosen ‘kindness’ as my word for 2013.

In choosing to be more kind, I spent time reflecting on the past, not just year, but several years. So many failures, missteps and poor choices have complicated my life. I often beat myself up about it. Maybe some of you do as well. I had an experience that may have been life-changing and was certainly perspective altering. In praying about my goals and my past, I heard an answer in my heart and mind. In that still, small voice God spoke to me and said:

“My Child, I never wanted you to sin, although I knew you would and I have already forgiven you. I wanted you to have those experiences. There were lessons you needed to learn and experiences you needed to have. You could only have them in those situations that seemed so difficult and even painful. I love you.”

Truth be told, I have already discovered that this may prove to be more challenging than I expected. ‘Sarcastic’ and ‘impatient’ are words that more aptly describe me than ‘kind.’ I usually choose words or goals that benefit me in some way. This year I want to benefit others and I hope my kindness will do that. In a conversation I had this past weekend, my friend made a sarcastic comment about my lack of compassion. I replied that I was working on being more kind and I have 300 more days to get it right.