To J. S.
When I was in junior high and high school, at various camps and church events and retreats, we did what was called affirmations.
Most of the time this was written down. Your name on a card passed around the room for everyone to write something positive about you.
Mine always listed things about happiness and joy, a megawatt smile and humor.
I loved these cards. I treasured these cards. As a teenage girl there was something so special about having it in writing these qualities that others admired and affirmed about me. They boosted my confidence and reminded me when I needed that reminder of just who I was.
When was the last time you shared with someone just what it is you love about them? Affirming them and building them up? Or when was the last time someone affirmed you?
This past week I met an old friend for lunch. I hadn’t seen her since H was little enough to be in a carrier so 8, maybe 9 years or so now. We’ve kept in touch on Facebook, she has the gift of encouragement and love. So full of love.
Strangely enough we met at my first post college job downtown. It wasn’t a good fit for me. I’m a creative and a people girl and the ho-hum all business all day life was not for me. And so in June 2005, I turned in my badge, gave up my healthy salary and benefits, the travel, the business cards and the professional life and came home.
“You weren’t made for that world,” she tells me in between bites of lunch and we both know she’s right. Later with tears at the brim of both of our eyelids she tells me face to face how sad she is my mom is gone.
People don’t talk about this. People skip over this. People are afraid to say and ask and do because we’re all afraid of what lies beneath the surface so to me, it is truly a gift to have someone scoop right below the surface and say it. And mean it. With love.
We talked about her job and her grown up daughters and we talked about what I’m doing now, a much better fit, and my littles and my bigs, who were littles when we last got together. And she filled my cup, my soul with affirming words.
Like honey she reminded me that I am a good mom, even on the day I rush out the door downtown and end up late at after school pick up. She reminded me that I listen to my kids about school and sports and let them grow into who they were made to be. She reminded me that I am living the life I imagined and not taking a moment for granted.
She reminded me of the gift I’ve been given. Not once ever in the last 10 years that I’ve been mostly home with my kids has J ever squashed my ideas or my desires. “He let you grow,” she said.
And I pictured myself as this little seed with a sack of education and a whole bunch of what I thought I’d do’s that turned me into who I am today.
I left lunch feeling so satisfied.
Affirming words mean something, friends. Whatever you do, do not use them sparingly. Affirm someone today. Tell them they are a good mom or that they are really great at their job or that they do such a nice job with running this or that or the other thing. Use your words for good.
You have no idea the impact your words may have.