I got the phone call from her husband informing me my friend had less than 24 hours to live.
“Come now. She doesn’t have much longer,” he said.
I was in complete shock by what I heard. The doctor told her she had about 6 months (or longer) to live based on the type of cancer she had. So I reached out to her to see her, but her six month time-frame was reduced to about a week.
I was stunned and in disbelief as I drove out to her house.
The last time I saw her she had me out to speak to a group of women at her church. And now I’m walking into her house to tell her goodbye.
When I walked into her room I thought to myself, I don’t think she’s going to make it through the night. (Unfortunately, I’m not new to seeing someone on their deathbed.)
My friend was unable to speak and unable to see. But she could hear my voice.
I told her how her life impacted mine. The beautiful vessel she is and how I’m jealous she gets to be with Jesus before I do.
My tears spilled out as I held her hand, kissed her forehead, and then said goodbye to her.
I pondered our 9 year relationship.
The first time I met her she was reading an article I wrote for our homeschool group’s newsletter. It was the first article I ever wrote and it was the article I didn’t want to write because I was so afraid. Yet, here was this woman reading it and crying at the same time.
I sat there at the kickboxing studio while watching my sons and this stranger seated next to me said, “Have you read this article? Oh my goodness, you need to read it!”
I sat there completely uncomfortable, awkward, and even a little exposed. I didn’t even know the gal’s name nor how to respond to what she just said to me. So I mumbled and stumbled, “Um, well, I wrote it.”
More tears gushed from her eyes….
It was in that moment that our friendship began all because I was brave enough to share my heart through the written word and she was brave enough to share her heart through her spoken word. Hmm, this friendship thing seems somewhat simple as I type out these words.
As more people filled her little house that night to say their goodbyes, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “would I let others in while I was on my deathbed? Or would I be closed off?”
My answer: closed off.
But her death shaped me and changed me. Softened my heart, I guess. She didn’t even know that as she lay dying, she was sharpening me.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
This woman readily accepted others.
She reflected Jesus to others.
I couldn’t help but consider how I am to others…
Do I readily accept them?
Am I brave enough to let them into my life?
Ouch. I felt convicted by what I saw in my heart.
I can’t expect others to treat me well if I’m not treating them well. And I can’t expect others to accept me, love me, and encourage me if I don’t do the same. You’d think a woman in her 40’s would’ve figured this out by now.
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My sweet, Jesus-loving friend was ushered into the presence of Christ about 3 hours later. And though she is no longer here, her life and surprisingly her death, taught me a few things about friendships.
- Be transparent.
- Accept others.
- Encourage others.
- Live and act like Jesus.
- Be brave
This is not a complicated list. So when I look at it I can’t help but wonder why do I run from it?
Is it because of Fear? Rejection? Betrayal? Yes. Yes. And yes.
Am I willing to go through life with a wall of protection around my heart?
Or will I let others in?
So I have to ask myself, what do I want? What kind of friendships would I like to have?
Shallow or deep?
I’m diving in!
How about you? What kind of friendships would you like to have?
Live a poured out life for Christ,