Tag Archives: friend

Heaven Wouldn’t Wait for Her

Standard
Heaven Wouldn’t Wait for Her

Every day, without fail, I talked to her. One or the other of us made the call, and never once did I consider that she might be bothered or too busy to talk to me. Our conversations were as natural as breathing. We looked forward to them.

If one of us needed to run to Wal-Mart after the kids were in bed, we called, already knowing that the other would watch for headlights and run out the side door and into the waiting car. It didn’t matter that our homes were not on the way to the ultimate destination.

Our children were best friends. Our husbands loved being together. When someone saw one of us without the other, the immediate question was “Where’s your twin?” We double-dated every Saturday night and took turns hosting Sunday night suppers after church.

I was crafty and creative; she was creative and practical. I was quick to panic and she always had a calm and confident response. I was raised by a mid-western farmer’s daughter; her parents were from the South. She taught me to cook fresh fried okra and for that alone my family is forever indebted to her. Together we learned to make something out of nothing – we could decorate the fellowship hall with a box of random scraps of fake greenery and ribbons (it was the 80’s – pre-Pinterest, okay?).

We shared our love of diet Pepsi and Almond Joy bars, Hardee’s biscuits and gravy and Chinese food. We both shopped right up until Christmas eve and wrapped gifts until just before dawn on Christmas morning.

But something happened at church. My family left and it wasn’t nice and neat; it certainly wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was the most difficult event of my life to that date. As with most fractured relationships, there was a ripple that went out from the epicenter of separation.

The fallout changed the amount of time we spent together. Too many fingers of relationships in that place couldn’t be untangled. And the thing that we had most in common – church – was no longer ours.

Our lives were more separate, but always along parallel lines. She had time to develop deeper relationships with some amazing women in her circle and I had a lot of healing to do from the brutality of the breakup with the church we had attended our entire married life.

When she told me her diagnosis I was sure it couldn’t be true. Cancer couldn’t happen to someone as pure as her. I prayed, certain that God was going to show himself mighty in her healing. I claimed a verse. I laminated it on a bookmark with a beautiful autumn leaf I found along a path on the way up to Chimney Rock and I gave it to her. It was a bold step of faith, but one I had to take for my dear friend.

goodness-of-the-lord

And then I watched cancer and the harsh treatments ravage her body. I sat by the bed where she lay dying in her parent’s home, silently praying as Judge Judy meted out justice on the television. I prayed and asked Jesus to make this right, to mete out some justice for my dear friend.

The call came early one evening; I remember sitting in the living room of a house we were renting; being strangely surprised and not at all surprised at the same time. I was not a stranger to grief, but I was overwhelmed by it; I was glad when they said I could come see her once more.

Her face was no longer distorted by pain. She looked peaceful and serene, the Sandy that I had known and loved. I told her that I loved her. I said the things that I had been afraid to say before, afraid she would think I had given up. I knew as sure as I was standing there she was in the presence of Jesus. She was finally healed and she was walking among the truly living, in a place where there is no more dying.

It’s been sixteen years since my dear friend left her body behind and joined the saints in Glory. There are so many days that I miss her, but I’ve learned to listen for her. When I get still, when I stop overloading my senses with information and noise, I consider what she would say.

“It’s going to be okay. We don’t need stress over this; we just need to do what we can with what we have and it will be good. And we are going to have fun doing it! Now, I’m thirsty – let’s get a diet Pepsi!”

I love you, Sandy. Happy birthday! I hope that you are enjoying heavens equivalent of candy corn, Pepsi (because who diets in heaven?) and Southern cooking. One of these days, I’m coming, so watch for the headlights and meet me at the side door okay? You can show me around.

4-lorraine-and-sandy-with-kathy-1995

This is one of my favorites of us!

 

By his grace we carry on,

lorraine

 

 notdesigner.blogspot.com_logo_facebookPlease visit and “like” the Grace and Graffiti Facebook page here.

And remember, it’s nice to share with your Facebook friends!  Thanks

Familiarity Breeds Compassion

Standard

a little bit swirly

It’s been an interesting week in blogging world. My post on dating resulted in lots of comments online and some moments of uncomfortable silence face to face. Apparently, everyone now thinks that I’m opposed to married couples dating. When they rolled the announcement video for the next dating night in our church yesterday I could feel the tension. After all, I had shared my opinion that dating is not “the” key to marital bliss with the entire World Wide Web.

It may be true that I am occasionally melodramatic and perhaps only a few people among the hundred had actually read my post. Nevertheless, I felt it.

It also was my most viewed post ever. And by ever, I mean the last seven months that I’ve been at this. Today an edited version appeared on foreverymom.com (check it out here)!! If you don’t follow that one, you should. It’s a great compilation of posts related to moms. Twice. Twice now, Jenny Rapson, the editor, has chosen my stuff to share. I’m amazed and grateful and I might have thought I was doing pretty well at this blogging thing until…

I got my first rejection last week. Already this blogging journey is teaching me that I have a lot to learn. And I’ve got some things to learn about writing, too.

I might have been devastated for a while if not for my honest blogger friend who shared her history of rejections, even as one of her wildly popular posts about….wait for it…vomit, was going viral. If you missed it, do yourself a favor and head over here to read it. Over 90K readers can’t be wrong about that one.

Last week I also started a Facebook fan page. It was one of the things that I knew I needed to do to grow my blog, but I had been wrestling with indecision. I needed a push. And a graphic for the banner page. Again, a nudge and an assist by Jami and the page is up and beautiful!  Please check it out and “like” it. There’s a link at the bottom if this post.

At the end of a very eventful and exciting week, I looked back and realized that I made new friends in this journey simply by reaching out to people with shared passion and they have joined hands with me. It is through these friendships that I’ve been encouraged to take the next step or to just keep writing in spite of setbacks.

There are times that most every heart waxes pitiful or sad and feels like the world is unaware or indifferent to it. It’s tempting to look around and wonder if anyone cares to share or even knows about our current struggle or even success.

A momma in the trenches wearily faces the day after a sleepless night, knowing there isn’t enough coffee in Brazil to ward off the fatigue that threatens to overcome her best intentions to do better today. She might have been nursing a baby or waiting for a teenager who missed curfew, but she’s tired and her patience is thin.

The parents of a newborn wait anxiously outside the NICU for an opportunity to just standbebe-616418_1280 next to the bassinet where their newborn son lies half-naked, connected to wires and tubes, alarms beeping.

A widow, living alone, misses physical contact…a hug or a lingering touch on her hand. It seems that the world has gone back to normal, but normal eludes her.

A daughter is separated from her aged parents by fifteen hundred miles, her father’s health precarious and mother caring from him as best she can on an island that’s barely five miles wide. Good health care is a prop plane trip across an ocean. Helpless to lend a hand and worried, she carries on with her toddler, preparing for the birth of a daughter who may never meet her grandparents.

seniorhandsA grandmother, missing her grandchildren, longs to snuggle with a baby or play Go Fish with a toddler. She’s so desperate she would welcome a mini lecture from an eight year old on the fine points of playing Minecraft!

 

 

I work full time and when not working, I alternate between cleaning frenzies and wandering aimlessly around Hobby Lobby. And yet, I witnessed every one of the scenarios in the last few days among people in my circle of influence.

I might have missed them; I often do because I’m lost in the details of my life. Listening is way less fun than talking, and I am a woman of many words.

Experience has taught me that the fault I see in another is often noticeable because of my familiarity with it. Without fail, it’s something that is also a struggle for me. I’m also learning that when I begin to listen to others with compassion, I recognize familiar fears, anxieties and passions.

We are never alone in our thing, whatever it may be. Finding a fellow sojourner may require revealing that vulnerable spot, the place that is most tender, but I promise that you will make a friend and your burden will be lighter even as you take up the weight of another. Familiarity will breed compassion.

I’m aware of the things I can’t do, but every day, I long to do what I can to make a difference and I’m so grateful for those who are making a difference for me.

When you do the things that you can do, you will find a way.” ― A.A. Milne

Visit the Grace and Graffiti Facebook page here

facebook_like_logo_1