WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Assurances & Affirmations

By Jami Yandle

“I said to the sun, ‘Tell me about the big bang.’ The sun said, ‘It hurts to become.’"
—Andrea Gibson

Recently, a friend of mine was lamenting to me about having a particularly “low ebb” day—my name for days that are hard for no identifiable reason. The dishes pile up in the sink. Those important emails go unanswered. The clothes don't get pulled out of the dryer and put away. Simple tasks aren’t so simple, and everything is…harder. As such, my friend was feeling a little down, and motivation was scarce for them.

Four people with their backs to the camera stand shoulder-to-shoulder, their arms around each other, as they look into a beautiful sunny vista.

I knew I was supposed to listen and not try to fix anything in our conversation, with one caveat: to help take the edge off, I decided to affirm all of the things I love about them, while I witnessed their struggle and pain.

My friend and I have a consent culture around this practice. We agreed years ago to affirm one another when the low ebb days hit, in an attempt to help get us out of the funk. I know a little something about those days: days where I don’t feel loved, worthy, or whole. When I feel that way, I need love from friends and my community but it’s hard to ask for it.

Slowly, my friend began to feel a little better. Then I got a few more friends in our circle to follow suit by sending them uplifting messages of affirmations of who they are, and what we so admire and love about them. Our friend then began to tackle their tough tasks, held by the healing balm of our small but fierce beloved community.

They texted me later that night to thank me, telling me how great it was to receive so much affirmation. It reminded them of who they are and why they’re so important to this world.

Appreciation and deep witness are beautiful gateways for returning to our most authentic selves. That day it was their turn to ask for help; tomorrow it might be mine. The day after, it might be yours.

What if we normalized asking for and receiving affirmations more regularly? If you have a few extra spoons, what would it look like to bless a friend who is out of spoons by sending extra affirmation, assurance, and love?

Prayer

We are not just flesh and bone, we have stardust in our veins, a reminder that we carry within us the planets that align in our hearts. May we show up for one another, show up for ourselves in the process, and remember we are divinity incarnate. May we learn to lean into that pure and true source in each other more willingly, and with a love that will not abandon us and will sustain us for the many hard days that have passed and those yet to come.

About the Author

Jami Yandle

The Rev. Jami Yandle (they/them) is a non-binary UU minister, graduate of Union Theological Seminary, and is a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently, Rev. Yandle serves the UUA as the Transgender Support Specialist.

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