About six months ago, I invited my former college suitemates to spend the day at our home. We hiked, reminisced, and fried catfish with the help of my handy husband. One of the girls had the idea to create jars of encouragement for one another. Each of us decorated a jar, and then we spent a while in silence recording memories and listing positive attributes about each other. We filled the jars for each of us but didn’t read the notes that day.
My jar has been sitting on my desk in my line of sight since then. Until today, I had only read two of the notes on “really bad days” when I felt I needed a friendly reminder that people do, in fact, like me. As I read the notes today, I snort laughed. I got a little teary-eyed. And I remembered that there’s something invaluable about maintaining long-term friendships with people who, through all our ups and downs, continue to keep in touch, support us, and accept us.
One of the notes said, “Bethany, I really admire how comfortable you are in your own skin.”
This is generally true of me. Lately, as I collect pounds like baseball cards in light of my pregnancy, it’s not reflective of how I feel. Yet reading these words admonished me to straighten up and fly right–to be myself.
In some ways, these women know me better than I know myself. They see things in me that, clouded by self-judgement and cynicism, I cannot see. Reading their notes today reminded me of who I really am.
Words are powerful, and I’m grateful for friends who don’t hesitate to share their feelings, speak the truth, and exhort me to be the Bethany they know and love.