Has someone ever said something to you that just sticks with you? Maybe it changes the way you do something or changes the way you think about something. There have been so many instances in my life where something that someone says sticks with me and makes a significant impact in my life. I am not talking about profound things we read or hear from significant leaders or anything like that. Rather I am thinking of just something that someone says in passing.
It can be for good or bad too. I remember once at a Young Women's activity I was being a little rambunctious. We were walking around in downtown Salt Lake City and looking at the Christmas lights. I don't remember what I said or did but one of the leaders snapped around, looked right at me and told me I was being annoying. She probably didn't think twice about it, but boy, that sure changed things for me. The tiny sliver of self confidence that I had at that time was shot. Completely gone. I didn't want to show my face in her class the next Sunday. So I stopped going to Young Women's altogether for a while, and I started to think of myself as annoying. I am certain that people had probably told me I was annoying a million times before and it had never bothered me but for some reason, this time it stuck. And I know it is silly that it hurt so much, but silly or not doesn't really matter when you are 13.
Remembering that instance horrified me when I became a leader in the Young Womens program. I was so careful about everything I ever said because I was never sure when something would stick. I think about it a lot as a mother too.
I can think of other things that people have said too. Things they weren't meaning to say to alter my way of thinking. But things that did.
One time while sobbing to Ralphie about being so sick (and pregnant) and feeling so ugly she told me "you know, you just gotta get up in the morning and shower and do your hair, everyday, even if you don't feel like it". That was asking a lot at that point in my life, and I was pretty darn perturbed that she would say that to me. I could barely walk without vomiting three times.And even if I spent hours getting ready each day I surely couldn't look half as amazing as she does. But it made me realize that I have no right to complain about feeling ugly if I'm not even trying to be presentable. And so now, I shower. I do my hair. And it's certainly a lot easier now that I am not pregnant : ) But on days that I just don't want to get ready mostly on the pretense that no one will even see me that day, I still do. Because Ralphie said that thing, that one time.
I remember in highschool my friend Jed, when asked how he was doing, would respond, "it's my best day ever!". He'd say it with such enthusiasm that you almost had to believe him. I've caught myself using that answer a lot of times, it is fun to see how people respond to it. It really does give you a unique perspective on life when you take on that approach.
What I really wanted to talk about today though was something that Laurie said a long time ago. We were in the same married student ward and she was called to visit teach a girl named Jen. I was a little bit intimidated by Jen. See, at the time, I was the furthest thing from a granola that you could imagine. Not only would we eat *Cookie Crisp for breakfast, sometimes we would just eat plain old chocolate chip cookies! I thought homeschoolers were ... well, insane. And you would have had to pay me a million dollars to even consider cloth diapering. And birthing without an epidural? I would rather rip out my own eyeballs. I knew all of those things were admirable and good, but I simply had no interest, whatsoever, in doing them. And the thing about Jen was....she did, or wanted to do, all of these things. She wore her cute little baby in a sling, was knock out gorgeous, super healthy and into organic stuff, etc. I figured if she got to know me, and knew that I ate cookies for breakfast and placed my order for an epidural when I was only 5 weeks pregnant etc. that she would try to convert me, or judge me, or just think I was less of a person. So I never really bothered to make an effort to get to know her, I figured we were way too different to get along well. Since Laurie and I were pretty similar I figured things would pan out that way for her.
A few weeks later I asked Laurie how things were going with Jen. "Great!" was her response. I was puzzled. I asked her "but...well...what? How are things going great? Doesn't she make you nervous?" Now it was Laurie's turn to be puzzled. "Nervous? Why?" "well, because of all of her nutty granola stuff..." Laurie just kind of chuckled and was like..."I just laugh with her about it! She knows I don't do that stuff and she doesn't care. She doesn't take herself too seriously. She is so nice!".
My brain kind of imploded. I don't know, I guess I had just always assumed that people who were better than me....would act....better than me. So....I got to know Jen. And guess what? I love Jen!
I am so grateful for her friendship and I kind of get sick when I think about the fact that I could have missed out on a marvelous friendship just because she did things a different way and we didn't agree on somethings ( My feet are firmly planted in the epidural camp!! Firmly!)
So. Freaking. What. if you do things differently. People are awesome. People who you don't think you have much in common with, are awesome, and they will probably think you are awesome too. This seems so commonsense to me now, as I am sure it does to you too.
I am so grateful for Laurie's little comment "I just laugh with her about it". Empowered with that attitude, and realizing that people don't care if I do things differently or don't care about the same things they care about, has allowed me to be friends with all sorts of people that I normally would have just shrugged off as not a good match.
So, go on...if you are reserved don't be afraid to talk to people who love a good debate. If you eat mac n' cheese every night, don't fear the aspiring chef. If you need a cherry coke to make it through your day, don't worry about the person who only drinks water (and I've gotta say I am so with you on this). If your midsection has seen better days, fear not the supermodel. And for pete's sake, if someone homeschools - - it doesn't mean they are freaks, they'll still like you if you ship your kid off to boarding school (I have one foot on each side of the fence here). And all the while just think about how you will be able to laugh about your differences, and learn from each other. You don't have to change. They don't have to change. It's a beautiful thing, really.
*I use this example because when Blaine and I did our first shopping trip as newlyweds he approached me in the aisle ashamedly holding a box of Cookie Crisp, he looked up at me and asked if we could buy them. I said "sure!" and threw like three more boxes on top of them. He explained to me that his mom had always said that "we don't eat cookies for breakfast" which I laughed at and responded "wow, sometimes my mom would actually make us real chocolate chip cookies for breakfast!". So we've always had a good laugh about eating cookies for breakfast.