Back in 2011 I went on a retreat at big bear with faculty from my grad program and a group of people who were my cohort mates for the next five semesters. I didn’t know any of them well, I didn’t know much in general going into it, and I didn’t know that weekend retreat would still inspire me till this day. Like any retreat, we had a packed agenda filled with activities, exercises, and discussions that involved leadership, anything student affairs related, and reflection. Oh the reflections. Throughout the program we joked about reflecting on our reflection. Cue Mulan movie.
For one of the activities we were asked to take a moment and think about what we would put on our epitaph and then share out to the group. Some people had really creative and funny ones. I couldn’t think of anything that clever so I just said, “Beloved wife, mother, and (sigh) I don’t know what else,” with little confidence in my tone and heat rising to my cheeks. I had absolutely no idea what my epitaph would say at that point in my life. I just felt compelled to share something for the sake of participating in the activity. The 24-year-old Ashley at that time was more worried about passing her grad program than anything else. When my faculty mentor shared her epitaph it was one that made me stop and take a breath to let it sink in. It was, “She lived her moment well.” Short and sweet. Impactful to the soul.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I was reminded of this memory. Thinking back to that moment it’s easy to say that I blurted out words that I didn’t mean, but as I reflect (haha) on everything I experienced since then, such as relationships that have come and gone, transitions, traditions, uncertainty, and timing, maybe the words I said five years ago wasn’t meaningless after all. All it needed was some life experiences and faith that everything falls into place when it’s meant to do so.
As we end 2016 with mixed emotions and anticipation for the new year I encourage you all to celebrate life with others, practice authenticity, and approach everything in love.
So, how will YOU live your moment well?