A great discontent rolled in and settled over my heart tonight. My heart tossed like white capped waves on the sea. A friend of mine is dying.
I can close my eyes and remember a happier time where the sun shone as brightly as our future. Where happy hearts, free and unbounded reigned. I can smell the fresh grass and hear the birds singing. I can hear our laughter as we ran through open fields while being chased by her family’s donkey. Memories hold such power. Emotions do too.
My heart is heavy and my tears flow. These memories feel emptier somehow. These memories were from when we were carefree teens with a twinkle in our eyes and dreams as big as the clouds passing through that glorious blue sky. We didn’t know what was yet to come.
The next year she was diagnosed with MD. She dealt with it with such grace it made me proud to call her friend. That summer I moved away, but we kept in touch through the years as she she met and married her shy guy and I met and married mine. And then children were born and we rejoiced.
It was a few years later when we realized how much our lives mirrored each other’s. I had two sons with autism. Her second born is autistic. We supported each other through the distance, united in our cause. A bit later, she lived out my future as she built a ramp outside her house for her wheelchair. Two very different diseases. Two very different friends. Two very different lives. Yet so similar.
We each have loving, gentle husbands who support us daily. Both physically and emotionally. Practical hands on help, while still believing we are beautiful. As she loses her hair with cancer treatments, her husband tells her to look into his eyes to see her beauty instead of looking in a mirror. As I struggle to walk on my large, deformed legs my husband tells me my eyes are so beautiful it’s all he sees. Heaven sent husbands by a God who knew our needs before we could imagine what was coming.
And now we know. Cancer, on top of everything else she’s suffered. It’s so painful to think of a world without my friend. I was thinking about it tonight as I tucked in my oldest son. He could see the grief on my face, something he has worked hard to be able to understand. He asked me why I was sad, and I told him. I explained how desperately hard it was to be so far away and not be able to spend time with her before she goes. He took my hand and said, “you’ll see her again. You know you will, Mom. And Great Grandma and Wendy and all the people you loved who went home. And you might not even have to wait too long.” Such wise words from my sweet son, and fresh tears for his perception of my own condition which I almost wish he didn’t understand. I turned off his light, and before I shut the door, he called out again. “Mom? When your friend dies she will be perfect. She won’t be sick anymore. And neither will you. You can take her hand and both run together again.”
And just like I saw a picture of us, like we were teenagers, in a grassy meadow on a summer day. Running hand in hand. Except we weren’t teenagers anymore.
And it brought me back to something my friend said about being winners. She said if God healed us, it would be a win. But if we died, we would be with Him. Either way, we’d be winners.
And so we win. And I’m thankful to have her in my life, even though it’s breaking my heart that she has to go. Because as a teenager had an influence on my life. And her influence coupled with the influence of others made me understand my deep need for salvation that only Christ can bring. My heart was restless until it found rest in Him. And that’s where I find my rest even now, when we hope and wait for His hand to intervene.
But even if He doesn’t this time, we’re still winners.
I love you my friend. Rest well, now. You are a winner.