My friend Jenny Reeder is amazing. You can look her up online and read about all the awesome things she’s done: she has two masters degrees and a PhD, she’s co-authored and edited books, she speaks at women’s events around the country, and she’s battled and overcome multiple aggressive cancers and related illnesses (they don’t let you bring flowers into the ICU, by the way; just fyi). But what most inspires me about Jenny, in the truest sense of the word, is her ability to make me want to learn, and to help me do so.
I first met Jenny at church, where we served and worked together. Jenny was insightful, professional, kind, and egalitarian. Plus, she was real. She didn’t shy away from discussing challenging topics; on the contrary, she studied them so thoroughly that during one such discussion, she recommended to me a book that addressed my concerns perfectly. I was amazed; normally I am the one helping my friends find information, but I hadn’t even considered looking for a book on this topic.
The ability to lead others to the right information at the right time is not a very flashy super power, but those who benefit from it know how valuable it is. Librarians are often credited with having this super power. Jenny is not a librarian, but is in a sister field: she is a historian, specializing in women’s history. Jenny is positively brilliant, and she uses her powers for good.
Throughout our friendship, Jenny has shared with me multiple books, stories, and experiences that have helped me on the most fundamental level. She has deepened my spirituality, bolstered my innermost self, and empowered my divine potential. I could write pages about how Jenny has inspired me, and what I have learned as a result of her guidance, but you don’t have to take my word for it. You can see for yourself; you may find yourself caring more as a result.
What can we learn from Jenny? Learn. Study deeply what interests you. Find people’s stories. Search out who people were and what they had to say. And then share your knowledge with the world. How much better would each of us do if we always carried with us the hope and the confidence of those who have gone before?
Learn. And never stop learning.