There are some phone calls I'd just rather not take.
I have a dear friend who called me in July, asking for prayers for her mother. This lovely lady, who gave me such wonderful guidance when I was young, had gone through breast cancer several years ago and had survived and thrived. In July, she had some tumors removed from her abdominal area, and things were looking like they were going to be back to normal any day.
But not so much tonight.
Tonight when she called, J. let me know that her mom is critically ill...she had a lot of pain this past week, and now they know that the tumors came back, as tumors are wont to do, and with a vengeance. Apparently they didn't get that particular Scriptural memo about vengeance belonging to the Lord.
The family is praying that her kidneys begin to work again. If they don't, it's only a matter of days. Either way, the prognosis is not good. She is on massive doses of pain medications and is beginning to say goodbye to her family.
She loves flowers--she's a master gardener. Her hands are pretty, but they are the hands of a woman who is not afraid of work. I remember that I gave her a set of hand care products as a thank you one summer day, when our family and J's family gathered at her parents' home for a day on the lake.
She makes the most beautiful quilts--my favorite was a sun-burst cross, with all different colors coming together to create a mosaic masterpiece of the beauty of salvation. She could put together the best Halloween costume or play costume at the drop of a hat. When we were kids, she loved dressing up like a clown.
Her house always smells like freshly baked muffins or cookies or breads, and her refrigerator holds perpetual meals for whomever happens by. She always keeps a "Herman" starter on her counter, faithfully stirring it and adding to it when necessary. When something happens in a family, dozens of mini-muffins are immediately forthcoming from her stock.
Her Bible is well-worn and well-loved. It sits in her living room on a table next to the sofa. She and her husband have their time together every single day, and it doesn't stop there for her. She is a woman of unbelievably strong faith, and I would wager there is not a single moment of her day that does not include a prayer. She prays unfailingly for her friends and family, for those who have no one else to pray for them, in supplication for those in need and in thanksgiving for those who are not.
Her guitar and piano were rarely silent when I was a child. She often sings in her garden or in her kitchen, piecing together snatches of hymns and songs here and there to make musical quilts. She passed this love of music on to her children. Her daughter, my friend J., is a music teacher herself.
She is an author, penning everything from the occasional letter to the local newspaper to children's books to articles for national publication in devotional monthlies.
She is a grandmother to three vibrant boys. She has had more than a small hand in raising them, helping them understand the importance of the littlest things of creation: bugs and seeds. She helped to shape their first days and years, and continues to be a strong guiding force in their lives.
She will likely not live to see her first granddaughter born in late December.
She kept me safe when I was a kid. I ran away to that home more times than I can remember. When things were really bad at my house, their home was almost always the place I'd end up, and it was because I knew I would be safe and loved there.
I walked there almost every morning before school, and then J. and I would go on together from there, always with something freshly baked in our hands to munch on the way.
She loves trying new things, always enforcing the rule at the table: everyone has to try everything. If you don't try it, how do you know you don't like it? Imagine what you'll miss if you don't try something that you have a chance of liking!
She has always been a care taker and nurturer, a prayer warrior and a lover of all things beautiful. She taught her children to be compassionate and loving, and with the help of her husband and by the grace of God they have raised three fine people.
I am sick in my heart for my friend, because although she says she is fine Right Now, I know that the stealthy knowledge of loss will shake her to her core. I thank God for J. and all the years of friendship that she and I have been blessed with...and more so for her mom and everything she gave from her heart to me over the years.
Please keep this family in your prayers: for God's will, and for His everlasting peace in their hearts.