In honor of 3 recent conversations and my official 3-week countdown to the end of my summer break, I am posting a series of reflections on thoughts and sentiments shared by friends and loved ones.  

Today I had lunch with someone I call a friend. Our most common interactions are via social media; we never spend much time together for face-to-face encounters; and the last time we had a meal together was when we first met about 18 years ago … BUT I call her a friend. I call her a friend because she made an impression on my heart when I was just a freshman in college and that has never left. Her tenderness and care are just the same as I recall it being almost two decades ago. During times when she could have been cruel, distant or aloof, she remained close, caring and concerned. Through the years she has continued to make her presence and support in my life known, even if her involvement has looked different than what one may imagine. For this I call her a friend.

So today we gathered. As we conversed – like we have never missed a beat – and she reflected, the wheels began churning. Self-reflection and self-critique are beautiful things! What a gift it is to be able to look at ourselves and admit our own imperfections! What if more of us were willing to take long, hard and honest looks at ourselves at various intervals in our lives and offer helpful reflections? But I also wondered what if we saw in ourselves what others see in us? What if we saw ourselves as strikingly beautiful – inside and out? What if we saw ourselves as divinely necessary and essential to someone else’s growth and development? What if we saw ourselves as a rare gift to someone’s journey? What if we saw ourselves as precious? Unique? Extra-ordinary? Accomplished? Inspiring? What if in the midst of all the self-reflection and critique, we also saw the same gifts in ourselves that others often see in us?