I have a very very dear friend who is battling cancer. She has been for some time. This week they put her in hospice care. The news of this hit me really hard. Honestly, I was surprised at how it hit me. I was (and continue to be off and on) just a puddle of tears, and wandering around feeling so lost. It's not that I didn't have an idea this was coming. It's been a long, hard fight and it has definitely taken it's toll. I've thought in the past couple of weeks that we may be nearing the end. It wasn't a big surprise. But I've been holding out for a miracle. I still am.
We all have certain people in our lives that we can say their presence in our lives changed us. Some more than others. Sometimes not for the better.
This friend of mine changed me with her presence. From the moment I met her I loved her with my deep heart. You know, come to think of it, she's always surprised me. Because THAT surprised me. You know they talk about love at first sight- and that was what it was for me. (Not in a romantic way obviously)... But I had heard about her through my pastor- nothing specific, just that she was there, in the church... When I met her I instantly loved her. Deeply. And, so did my husband and our boys. She has that affect on people I hear :) I instantly felt like we were kindred sisters and that I had a true friend. And I did.
As time went on we went through some stuff together, and as I learned more about her I loved her even more. My husband lost a friend at work in a car accident, and she was there for us. I had some moments when my problems with my mother made me numb.. and she was there for us. My children needed to seek out more of what God was about, and she was there for us. She was always there with a contagious smile and joy in the Lord.
The past year our lives have not been as intertwined, because she moved, but I've talked to her often and she has taught me so much about life without even trying. St. Francis of Asisi once said, "Preach the gospel often, and if necessary use words." That is exactly how my friend lives her life.
I remember when she called me to tell me she had cancer. I was in the Kroger parking lot and I left without my groceries and drove straight to the church to pray. I wondered how I'd tell my kids. But as time went on it seemed like she was beating it. I was worried about how it would affect the rest of her life, but happy that the cancer wasn't winning.
So why has the news of hospice hit me so hard? I know that I know that I know that death is only sad for those of us who are left behind. But is is REALLY sad for us. My friend has suffered so much. I really don't want her to suffer any more. But I feel like I have so much to learn from her still. I feel like she has so much to offer the world still. I feel like this world will not the be same without her. It will be a little darker. And I don't want to experience that.
So as I try to continue through this Christmas season I'm trying to rejoice. I'm trying not to walk around in a fog. I'm trying to make my friend proud.
I don't know if I've talked about legacy before, but I think it's so important. We all do things in our lives that create our legacy. Whether we want to or not, whether we realize it or not. Our legacy exists while we are still here on the earth and long after we have gone home. As I look over my friend's legacy my heart swells to overflowing. I can only hope to have half the legacy of love that she has. So, in honor of my friend, and in still praying for a miracle I will strive to make my legacy be about love, as hers is. We are all better people for knowing my friend. That's not a statement I make lightly. If you too are her friend you know what I'm talking about.
So today I'm sending up worship soaked gratitude to God for such an amazing gift in my friend. I'm praying God's will in her life, I'm praying for peace and comfort for all who love her, I'm praying for a miracle. But, if her healing is total healing that brings her home to God, I'm grateful for that too. I'm just blessed to have her legacy be part of my life.
I love you RJ, and Super Grover does too :)