Who’s in your balcony?

Yesterday I got to telephone with someone very special. This older aged (but incredibly young at heart) woman is one of my safe people – one who’s stood by and supported me through my darkest days. Whenever she sees my weaknesses, mess-ups, and vulnerabilities, somehow she just loves me even more. Creativity and spunk ooze out of her, and I don’t think I’ve ever interacted with her when we haven’t giggled like little girls at least once. She’s neat.

Anyhow, as we chatted I reflected on the invaluable people in my life who have shaped me into the person I am today. I feel such gratitude for all those faithful knees that have hit the ground on my behalf and all those encouraging souls that have planted words of life and truth in my core. Where would I be without such a supportive, strengthening and loving community over the years?

My dear friend responded in full agreement, “Yes, our balcony people.” I had heard that term before, but couldn’t remember the reference. Turns out, it’s from a book called just that (Balcony People), which describes how priceless “Affirmers” are in each of our lives.

I haven’t read the book, but came across an excerpt that makes me want to put the little 70-page paperback on my list:

Let me ask you. Who is the affirmer in your life, who by one small sentence or more, has changed and lifted your opinion of yourself? Who was the person early in your life who recognized the first sparks of originality in the labyrinths of your mind and soul, and saw what no one else saw? And who is the special affirmer who catches quick glimpses of the flames from the fires of your potential and tells you so? Who, by his or her words, helps you to respect and believe in your own value as a person? And who is the affirmer who encourages you to stretch and dream beyond your self-imposed limits and capabilities?

Some are standing up there in the flesh, and I’m convinced there’s also a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) that our earthly eyes are unable to see. I suspect they all have cowbells and confetti and kazoos, and probably course throats from cheering us on so loudly. I can’t imagine how I would have made it this far without the seen and unseen folks in my balcony – all those who have taught me that we’re better together and inspired me to be a balcony person for others.

Who’s in your balcony?