A friend who cares
“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen
On May 16, three people spent over six hours on the road, braving the legendary traffic of the DC area. They came from southeastern Virginia to Bethesda, Maryland to sit with Drew and me through the long hours of Jeff’s liver resection. It was a risky surgery that would involve more complications than we had anticipated, and aside from these three people, no one else was with us that day. Each of them, in different ways and at different times, has been there for us in the past, when we needed help that only they would give. And here they were again, with us on a crucial day, showing us that we mattered to them.
Roger is our minister from our Newport News church; Tammy is a dear friend and neighbor who feels more like family; Reneé is the dynamo who leaves such generous comments for me on this blog. She understands so much of my life because she has been in my shoes as few others have, and has shown me that it’s possible not only to survive, but to thrive.
These friends are close to us because of our shared faith, but also because over the years, they have cared for us in ways that set them apart. In being with us yet again on that long day, they have given me a gift of strength that has remained with me for days and weeks since. I draw comfort from looking at the photos of us taken that day, even as we continue to endure the long and uneven process of Jeff’s recovery, the outcome of which is still frighteningly uncertain, and seems to grow more worrisome each day. I will always be grateful that these special folks set aside an entire day to be with us in trying circumstances.
Let’s take a few minutes today to be thankful for those faithful friends who are willing to stay beside us during our most difficult hours. Life brings us all sorts of acquaintances who bless us in various ways, but it’s hard to imagine how we would survive without those very special individuals who are not afraid of the dark. Our gratitude goes out today to all who share sorrows as well as joys; may the compassion you show to others return to you a hundredfold.