Lessons Learned About Friendships from a Dying Friend
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.
[ctt title=”Self-preservation impedes our desire for deeper connections.” tweet=”Self-preservation impedes our desire for deeper connections.” coverup=”816f4″]
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,
Sorry for the loss of your dear friend. She sounds like an amazing woman who vibrantly lived out her relationship with Jesus!
Aw, thanks for commenting, Brittany!
I recently lost my best friend of 4 yrs in December. IT was very sudden and we did not know that she was going to die. I saw her on Friday and by Sunday, I was saying goodbye to her. It was a sad time for me and hard for me to deal with. I still struggle to try to call her and she is not there. I know that there is One who is and always will be.
It has been hard because i long to hear her voice and i can fully understand this article. Thank you for sharing this with others.
Oh, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, Jeanette. Yes, Jesus will stick closer to us than a brother. He’s the perfect friend who shows us how to be a better friend to others.
Thanks, your posts are a blessing to me anytime I read them. God bless you for sharing
Thanks Diana. To God be the glory. He knows what we need. 🙂
My heart goes out to you for the loss of your friend, Jolene. I too have pondered what is truly in my heart, and have been disappointed by what I have become – too afraid to let others in to my heart and my life. What I want more than anything is to be like my Savior Jesus Christ, to live as He lived and to be the type of friend He was and that He would have me be. I’m diving in with you. Thank you for being brave in sharing your heart, and in turn, inspiring so many thousands of women each day.
Hi Becky, I loved what you said, “too afraid to let others into my heart and my life” this is exactly how I feel too! But God, he’s transforming my heart and revealing new things to me. Someday soon I’ll share here what I’m learning.
Thanks for commenting and for being brave!
I’m so sorry about the loss of your friend. I struggle with being closed-off as well, so your beautiful meditation truly spoke to me.
Hi Christi, I don’t believe you and I are the only women who feel this way. Thank you for sharing your heart here. Continue to be brave.
So sorry for the loss of your friend. Thankyou so much for encouraging us all to be braver in our friendships, this is something I am slowly learning to do.
Hi Eliza, yes, the learning process can sometimes be slow, but hey, at least we’re learning and growing, right? Sometimes growth hurts and sometimes it’s slow. But growth is growth. Continue pressing on, sweet friend!
Thank you for these edifying words. This has challenged me to be a better friend.
This is awesome to hear, Emily. God is good!
Thank you for speaking to my heart…I relate to so much of what you shared. May you know His comfort in your mourning, and rejoice also knowing that you will meet again.
Hi Jolene, I am your friend’s mom. Thank you for your sweet words regarding friendship. We do need to be open in our relationships. There was a wonderful outpouring of the Body of Christ that day. (Blessed me so much.) My daughter prayer was that everyone she knew would learn something from her dying.
May God continue to bless you and your ministry.
Thanks for stopping by to tell me hello! Kim was a beautiful friend and she’ll be deeply missed! I still can’t believe she’s gone. 🙁 She was a wonderful example of the love of Jesus!
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