Friends and family have a powerful effect on the life of an individual, because it is within each stage of the individuals life that you are shaped. By sharing in another person’s life, even though you are separate, you still are in conversation and response to what the other is experiencing. Unfortunately, the last stages of life are the most difficult for a friend to witness to a once strong, vibrant, and in this case, a positively motivated family friend.
Sometimes when we visit our friends that have health declining, we may think that we will find them in a terrible state of depression and defeat. We may not we sure of the words to say or the method of joy and hope to bring them. Especially when our friend or friends have been struggling with cancer for months or years, it is like going to see a friend that has an archenemy slowly draining the vitality and passion from their spirit. However, this was not the case when visiting a friend having had different forms of cancers over the years. In fact, it sure was nice to sit and talk to my friend now in the retirement home.
Two years ago, this same friend was a busily active Christian lady that cared for a growing family of children, grandchildren, and eventually great grand children. It surprises me how fast this process happens. Once you begin to forge and architect your dwelling like the life of the honey bees, the whole process is started and your roles begin to adjust to the foundation that has been building and accelerating. The process begins with the parents, but soon the children move the family forward at different speeds by their own life experiences.
Quietly, she thinks of what she will voice, and what she will voice whether there is anyone available to speak to or not. At the same time, she has sat among others that may not be able to hear what she has to say. I am sure that as one ages, he or she begins to think of all that could have been said if possible to reverse the time. I wonder about what I may have already wished I had spoken more confidently and boldly about.
This day we spoke of confusing life situations and what we did not understand about what was still going on in our world. We shared some blessings; there were still baby showers and vacation bible school pictures to talk about. With her, I am reminded of the need for touch and concern, and access to touch and concern needs to be greater for all mankind.
People are hungry for for care and concern because of the expectations put on them to do. When life has wrung one out and love is low in supply, we need more love to fill these chambers of our hearts. This friend demonstrates daily how much love and faith she has to give still to others. She is filled with joy and the Lord’s peace. Telling her how much she inspires me with hope, gives me greater appreciation for the basic gifts of touch and concern.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (N.I.V.)
The touch and care of a friend can fill the heart with hope in healing ways; I am seeking to be more mindful of the needs of friends around that could use encouragement. Do you have a friend that maybe you have lost touch with and would like to reach?