As I opened the Facebook page to wish my friend, Jenny, happy birthday, her cover photo was perplexing. I realized something had happened. I immediately researched and yes, there was a death in her family. My heart pounded as my mind raced. If only I had remained friends with her as I had so earnestly desired, I would have known of her loss and heaven’s gain.
I became tearful as I recalled the countless “friend chats” we had in those earlier years. We had times of both laughter and tears, while in our thirties we dealt with the typical challenges of “family life”; marital conflicts, praying for children and then the rearing of children, losing jobs and obtaining others, building new homes and lastly moving from a home and area that I loved.
How often had we sat in one another’s homes, hand in hand praying during these trials? Jenny had been my closest friend during those difficult years. She had come to my rescue when I found myself alone, living in an apartment and not having even $5.00 to purchase groceries. There she was for me; offering a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and an open heart and hand with food for a barren pantry.
She and I connected from the very first time we met in our church Sunday School class. As earnestly as I had tried to sustain the friendship, when I moved from the area, her friendship also relocated. Upon my return, several years later, all my efforts to rekindle the friendship were invalidated.
As I reviewed the memorial video of her loved one, my heart was so heavy, I could hardly breathe. How I wish I could have been there at her side when she kissed her beloved good-bye as he walked hand in hand with the Lord. He was one of the kindest men I had known. He always had a smile and encouraging word. Now his chair would be empty for her birthday celebration and I was saddened for her.
This was one of dozens of situations which have occurred in the past five decades that I could have screamed “God this is wrong. Why was my then husband allowed to take me away from my family, my home, church, community and all my friends?” Each time we moved to and from cities, dwelling in over twenty residences, I lamented the moves.
Whether it is during a storm or in the “sonlight”, God is there. I thanked Him that He gave me the friendship of Jenny. Although it didn’t endure, it was a gift at the time of my life when I needed Jenny. I now quietly desired I had known of her loss, but God gave me the memories of Jenny and her beloved, which are indelible. NKJ Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”