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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Hand ReachingI love the way friends and family rally around when there’sa  big crisis. We pray, we bring food, we give words of encouragement, cards, little gifts, offers of help and anything else that comes to mind because we recognize a critical need.

But sometimes the smaller challenges go unnoticed and yet are often the sandpaper that wears the body down leaving it raw and open to depression and despair. An outsider might look and wonder how something small in comparison to what others are going through could have such impact.

I’m afraid I have been guilty at times of brushing off what I considered lower priority battles.

When my friend went through cancer I was there for her, constantly trying to think of new ways to encourage and give hope. I jumped in and rallied others to do the same. It’s not hard to be inspired into action when someone you love is facing a life and death situation.

But what if it doesn’t look like a life and death situation? What if it’s not big on the Richter scale of crisis but it’s huge on the personal scale of an individual’s limits at that moment in time?

I learned a great lesson summer before last when I severely damaged both my feet in a fall. The first few days were certainly noteworthy on the crisis scale. But after that, life settled into ice packs, crutches, physical therapy, the inconvenience of not being able to move as fast as I wanted and the insult of ugly shoes. (Yes, I am a cute shoe fanatic.)

When I looked around, there were people with much more serious injuries, illnesses or life challenges. Still found my small scale troubles pushing me into depression.

I think my biggest problem was feeling I didn’t have the right to complain or whine or get discouraged because my problem wasn’t that big. Of course, the size of a crisis doesn’t always determine the size of its impact. It made me stop and look around at what was going on in the lives of those closest to me. Were any of them where I was – minor trouble, major impact?

I’ve seen people sail through stuff that would bring a prize fighter to his knees. And I’ve seen people crumble under what appeared to be a minor annoyance in the scheme of things. I think I was almost one of them the summer of the foot fiasco.

Through that experience I have gained a great appreciation for waves of life that keep washing over the solid rocks on the shore. You can be rock hard and still be worn down by constant pressure no matter how gentle a disguise it comes in.

Every time that rock enjoys a little drying out in the sunshine, it once again gets a good soaking. I have friends who are like that rock. It seems that each time they get their head above water, they get soaked again. It’s seldom a tsunami. It is more often a shower. But after a while, a person can get waterlogged and the moments of sunshine are hard to enjoy. Please God, give me insight when they get to that point.

Here’s to my friends who have not gotten the cancer diagnosis or lost the loved one or faced the giant mountain of a lost job or something equally monumental but who still face challenges every bit as life threatening.

I recognize your daily struggle trying to slog through the paperwork for the divorce, the dissatisfaction with the job you have, the annoying health challenge, the trying marriage, the chronic pain, the never-quite-enough money situation, the tough decision making, the acceptance of things not going the way you want them to again.

Don’t discredit your need for help, encouragement and support. Don’t belittle your reaction to what others might consider minor worries.

If it makes you sad, if it makes you tired, if it makes you want to give up and cry – I understand. I’m praying for you. I’m reaching out to you and I’m ready to jump in and do what I can to help.

Just think of me as the very absorbent pink fluffy towel standing ready for the next dousing.

You just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running (Carole King, 1971)

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17 (God, from the beginning of time through forever)

 

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I’ve been giddy all week for this– Friday, two friends, one car, and about 8 solid hours all stirred together into a girl’s day out cocktail.  Can’t beat that.  And even though we’ve “been there, done that” more than a few times, it will be as fresh and fun filled as ever. I know that because it proves true every time the three of us find time to get away for a break-away from our every day.

My husband just shakes his head when I try to explain to him what it’s all about. He swears that two women together is half a woman and more than two is a disaster where common sense goes out the window and reason takes a nap . He’s probably right but who cares? Women have the ability to never run out of things to talk about, to laugh at things that would make a grown man question their sanity, to find silliness in absolutely nothing and to be completely oblivious, for a period of time, to the fact that the country is going to the dogs.

Even though it’s twelve hours away, I can tell you exactly  what is going to happen between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. today.

We will pile in the car at exactly 6:59 a.m. because we won’t want to waste one second of our time together.  We’ll hit the road, turn off the radio and turn on the conversation. You name the topic, we’ll cover it from the election, to husbands, to work, to church, to the weather, to grandkids, to what’s for dinner. We’ll jump around those topics faster than cold water on a hot skillet. And we’ll keep up – something most guys could never do.

We’ll stop thirty minutes down the road at Starbucks, order or favorite drink and be back on the road, picking up the conversation exactly where we left off. We’ll point out beauty along the way, laugh at things no one would find funny and talk some more.

When we get to Seattle we’ll make our way to our destination, remembering again all the times we’ve gotten lost on this same route. And, more than likely we’ll get lost again. But we won’t care. We’re not afraid to ask directions if we need to.

We’ll talk about how cute my friend’s doctor is on our way down the hallway to his office. We’ll pick an outdated magazine off his office rack and share with each other the pictures, advertisements or articles that catch our interest – knowing without a doubt they will also catch the interest of the other two.

After the appointment we’ll spend about fifteen serious moments discussing what the doctor said. And then we’ll move away from that topic and discuss where we want to stop for lunch and shopping. I’ll say I’m not hungry, they will roll their eyes and say “what else is new” and we’ll stop anyway.

Shopping will take four times as long as it normally should because we will keep finding adorable items to hold up to share with each other. We’ll critique every outfit on display, gasp at prices, touch and feel, unfold and refold, poke and prod and move on. And heaven help us if there’s a book store on the route. You’ll see us immediately navigate to the Christian romance section where we’ll admire covers, read jackets, point out new books by favorite authors, and probably have another espresso drink to enhance the experience.

Back in the car on the way home, we’ll pick up our conversation right where we left off again and chat, laugh, maybe even cry a little on the way home.

It will be a day that would drive my guy over the edge to complete, blubbering insanity. But it will refuel our very souls, healing the damage done by the rips and tears of everyday life.  Everyone will benefit – our families especially – because we’ll be kinder, sweeter, more upbeat and certainly more energetic in facing the stresses and strains of being a mom, wife, employee, friend, and every other role we play.

There’s something magic that happens when kindred spirits come together;  when women pour their hormones and their leftover little girl stuff into a few uninterrupted hours of just being together.  I can’t wait.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

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So, a friend told me she thought it was time for a humorous post.  She should have known the danger of that suggestion because the funniest things that have ever happened to me also involve her.  I hope she’s up for this!

My husband and I make quite a few extended trips on our Harley Davidson.  We have a favorite couple we like to travel with, the friend mentioned above and her husband.  They had been married just five days and this was our very first trip with them.  My husband and I were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary and they were marking one week as we left home for ten days on the open road.

It is no secret that guys love their bikes.  They talk about them, show them off, polish them, compare them, and talk about them some more.  Everytime we stopped for a break, the guys would stand around admiring the bikes while she (let’s call her Bev) and I busied ourselves with more important things like finding an espresso stand or poking around gift shops or catching up on all that had gone on since the last stop two hundred miles ago.

This particular stop was for gas and a short break.  Bev and I went inside the mini-market to grab a cup of that questionable push-a-button- shazaam-it’s-espresso.  Of course we got the extra large size.  We wandered back out to where the guys were doing what guys do – admiring their bikes.  The sun was shining, the weather was perfect and the camaraderie was perfect. 

I leaned against a pole and took a big sip of my drink.  Bev decided she needed something out of the saddlebags so she set her drink on the front seat of the bike. The memory of what followed will forever be frozen in time.

Bev opened the saddlebag, her extra large, hot, sticky drink tipped over, the shiny chrome of the Harley disappeared under a sheet of mocha – and the only sound was the sharp gasp of breath from every man within viewing distance.

No one moved for several seconds.  All of the guys looked at the husband.  Bev and I looked at each other.  Somehow we knew this would be the ultimate test of the week old marriage.  She would either be flattened, forgiven, or forced to find her own ride home.

Have you ever known someone who reacts to a crisis by laughing?  Yeah? Well,  that’s my friend Bev.  So let me give you some advice right here and now.  Dousing a Harley Davidson showroom polished motorcycle with a sticky chocolate drink is not a laughing matter.  Take my word for it. 

You might also appreciate knowing that pulling a cheap, carboardy napkin out of your pocket and attacking the flawless chrome is not a good idea regardless of your intentions.  There are special chamois cloths for that.

And one more bit of knowledge gleaned from that experience.  Men love their wives.  Men love their motorcycles.  Do not let yourselves get in a situation where one is pitted against the other.  My friends are still married – but it was a close call.

Now – the challenge.  How do I turn this little story into something inspirational to fit my platform?  I guess I would have to refer to this little scripture hidden in the book of Leviticus. 

“‘Now if a person sins and does any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware, still he is guilty and shall bear his punishment.”  Leviticus 5:17

Bev, the fact is you were a newlywed in a whole new experience, completely innocent of the rules.  But by the biker standard – you were guilty as sin! And had you not been a brand new bride, it may have been the unpardonable sin!

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