I lost a friend this week – a friend who loved me. How did I know she loved me? Let me count the ways:
1. Her eyes always brightened when I walked into the room. She practically jumped up and down to see me.
2. She smiled at me with her whole face – nothing was withheld.
3. She asked me new questions; thoughtful follow up questions from the underlayers and edges of our last conversation. How on earth did she remember I mentioned that?
4. Her whole body listened carefullly to everything I said, and her quiet attention duly noted those things I deliberately left unsaid. All that was spoken (or I was afraid to speak) she would pray for until the next time God brought us together.
5. She was never distracted. Never in a rush. Never impatient. Never late. Utterly present.
6. She belly-laughed, like a joyful man with no cares, when she found something hilarious, which was often. It was a sweet benediction on me, a blessing of sorts, because everyone knows that I’m nowhere near that funny.
6. Like a child she routinely gave me the benefit of the doubt. She never held a grudge even though I gave her frequent occasion.
7. She might disagree with me but she never discarded me in favor of being in the right. She handled my idealism, wrestlings, immaturity, zealotry, passions de jour, and angst with generous respect and significant care.
8. She saw me as if I were always my best self. She saw me as I would one day hope to be. She saw me as I like to think that God might, maybe, hopefully, miraculously, possibly see me.
9. She enjoyed and prayed for my kids.
10. She had nothing to lose. Each morning was a gift from her Father, and each evening was an opportunity to remember his kindness, mercy, and faithfulness.
I am dreadfully sad today. Not because Betty is home with the Father she loved so much, but because I feel suddenly alone.
Who needs to know you love them?
Who needs to know that you aren’t disappointed or dismayed in who they have become?
Who needs you to be less distracted? Less demanding? More joyful? More present?
Because tomorrow is a new day. And those whom God has given you to love aren’t guaranteed to be there forever.
Peace to you and yours.