Inspiration · Sunday Reflections

Sunday Reflections: Marble Jar Friends

My Sunday Reflections series is about sharing ideas, thoughts and insights on self-care, relationships, chronic illnesses, growing older, self-improvement, inspiration, or anything else that I feel is useful information and might be of benefit to someone.

I love the phrase Marble Jar friends!

I was scrolling through some blogs that I follow, and that title really jumped out at me. While reading the post, I realized it was striking a nerve. I thought about it all day. It made me think of my ‘Marble Jar’ friends. The ones who check on me frequently. The ones I know I could count on if I needed anything. I’m grateful that my Marble Jar runneth over. I’m sorry to say though, it also made me think of how I am not as good of a friend as they are to me.

Jar of Spilled Marbles -

It’s not that I don’t ever think of the people in my life. I think often of what I could do for people I love and care about. My problem is I get busy. I get distracted. I feel bad. And I forget to follow-through . . .

The meaning of the phrase is explained in the book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon, if you care to check it out.

The following post reminded me that I need to become a better friend to my friends. To fill their “Marble Jars” and let them know how important they are to me.

Anyway, Erin over at The Snod Life shared the story and then offered some wonderful thoughts on building relationships in her own life. She speaks to friends, but the ideas will work for any relationship you have in your life.

Here is her post. Please take the time to pop over and finish reading Erin’s post on her site, and let her know you liked her post.


Marble Jar Friends

I’ve been listening to Daring Greatly by Brené Brown on Audible, and in the chapter I was working through today she discussed a difficult situation her daughter had experienced.

To add some perspective, her daughter is in the earlier years of grade school, so her life’s problems aren’t terribly relatable to us, but the analogy Brené used is perfect for any age.

Her daughter’s teacher has this jar in her classroom. When the children are being collectively good, she will put a handful of marbles in the jar. Conversely, when the students are misbehaving she will remove a handful of marbles. When the jar is full, the entire class gets a prize.

The girl had her feelings hurt by a fellow classmate, and swore she would never trust another friend again. Brené used the marble jar as a reference, and asked her daughter if she had any ‘marble jar’ friends – people that fill up her jar, and people who have jars that she fills. She got excited, listing off all the marble jar friends she has.

It got me thinking… I’m closer to forty now than I am to thirty, but the past several years haven’t really been about maintaining friendships. Granted, not many people get divorced and married as frequently as I have, but I imagine collectively my age group is focused on their immediate family and building their careers.

Do I have marble jar friends? I can count on one hand the people I know I could rely on during an emergency, or who would be available if I really needed them. Am I their marble jar friend? Can they rely on me? Am I there for them when they need it most?

The answer kind of stings. I can remember a time I forgot about a lunch date, and she has already ordered her lunch so she had to eat by herself. I can remember a time where I turned down several invites to meet up with a friend, so she found someone else to spend her time with.

There are some things I can improve on in order to be a good marble jar friend. . .

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11 thoughts on “Sunday Reflections: Marble Jar Friends

  1. Good post! I have found that it is best to act upon a good-will effort for our friends when we are thinking about it or sometimes the moment passes. Also, it does not have to be a perfect plan either…a store bought box of muffins might suffice over the home-made muffins in a pretty tin if that is all time allows for. The important thing is that we deliver the muffins to the person we wanted to. And if the time is not there whatsoever at a given moment, just a text to say, ‘I am thinking about you’ is better than nothing at all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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