I learned this great trick from my grad school roommate, Leslie (who, side note, was a very gracious roommate as she never scolded me for taking up 75% of our closet, waking her up opening my squeaky dresser drawers every morning, or consistently falling asleep as she was still talking to me at night). As soon as she moved into our room she hung a great, big, empty corkboard on the wall. Throughout the year as she received cards, letters, and photos from friends and family she would tack them up on that board. At first it was a little too messy, unfinished, and unorganized for my taste, but as I’ve very slowly loosened my grip on perfection and left more room for relationships and the messiness of the human heart, I’ve grown to love it. And I copied it.
As soon as I moved to Missouri, I hung an empty cork board in my room. Then, when I moved into my own apartment in Warrensburg, I hung one in my room and one in the hall. I love watching them fill up with kind words, encouragement, photos, ticket stubs, and the occasional feminist article that some sweet soul knew I would enjoy.
Moving back to my home in Michigan hasn’t been easy as I have left so many dear, dear friends in Missouri. But many have taken the time to write a note or give a gift to express their care for me. I’ve received so many wonderful cards from clients sharing the ways I helped them grow, cards from friends letting me know I’m missed, gifts of money (which have been a huge blessing and have eased much of my stress), homemade gifts, and thoughtful gifts personalized to my interests and story.
On days when I feel frightened of the future, or miss my friends, or am struggling with loneliness- I have these beautiful, beautiful expressions of care and encouragement from people who have deeply touched my soul.
These expressions of love have meant the world to me.