Journal Entry: Melinda Bixler-01/07/2024-Friendship

Journal Entry

During our darkest seasons we’re confronted with the truth about ourselves. During these times we encounter tremendous opportunity for personal growth. These seasons hurt and often cause us to question our strength, perseverance and the ability to rise again. There may be exceptions, but generally speaking, we experience self-doubt and uncertainty during these seasons. The support of our family and friends is crucial. We need their understanding, compassion and words of encouragement. We seek their reassurance, their love.

In dark seasons, the authenticity of our relationships is tested. This is certainly true in my case. My arrest was made quite public throughout local media outlets. Regardless of completeness or accuracy, as a whole, our society enjoys a juicy story; the jury of public opinion eagerly issues its verdict. Few take the time to critically evaluate the story that’s publicly shared by questioning the accuracy, evidence and motives of those generating it. I’d underestimated the influence the media would have on my relationships. It prompted some “friends” to run away for self-preservation. I’ve come to recognize those losses as wins. I found solace in God’s unveiling. I’ve found peace in the purge.

Conversely, I was blessed with amazing supportiveness of friends and acquaintances, both old and new. I welcomed a few new friends along the way. Friends who evaluate me in wholeness, and consider their personal observations and experiences with me rather than placing full stake in the narratives drafted by strangers. Friends whose lives share common threads that weave together stories of failure, success, poor choices and beautiful ones.

While incarcerated, I’ve received letters, cards, books and words of encouragement from many friends. It’s uplifting, emotional and fills me with hope. I value the depth and authenticity of my relationships. Relationships that not only endured the hardest season, but in many cases, strengthened throughout this storm. I’m thankful for each one of them.

Love you guys!

“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship and compassion.”

-Simone de Beauvoir