A little over a year ago, I made the gut wrenching decision to place my dear husband, of almost 35 years, in a nursing home. My friend, Lisa, had spent every spare moment helping me care for him, but he had failed to the point that he took more time and strength that we had. It was a difficult year.
Joe had pretty well lost the ability to speak clearly and was totally bound to his wheel chair. My birthday is November 11 and I knew that the he would not be surprising me this year. He had always made a big deal out of my special day. His love made me feel like a princess.
Birthday morning came, and I went to spend time with Joe and feed him lunch. When I walked in, he was in the middle of the room in his wheel chair, holding the most beautiful bouquet of red roses I have ever seen. He held them up to me with a lively sparkle in his twinkling blue eyes. He smiled as I reached for them. I leaned down and lovingly kissed him. I was surprised and so thankful. I looked up at Lisa and knew she was the source of my blessing.
Joe then handed me a card. Due to the ravages of the Parkinson’s disease, he had scrawled the smallest signature ever on the bottom of a lovely verse. With tears in my eyes, I kissed him again and reached out and squeezed Lisa’s hand. Friends such as Lisa fill the world with God’s amazing love. I will never forget.
Lisa loved Joe. Once she asked him to marry her and he said yes. I asked them what they were going to do about me. They assured me I could stay. It was our special joke. When we would introduce ourselves to people, I would say this is Joe and I am his wife and Lisa is his girl friend. Some people were scandalized, but I knew it was just God’s love that we shared.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Joe left for heaven in January. As my birthday arrives this year, I think back to the best gift I have ever received. The memories are filled with a tinge of sadness and abundant joy as I recall how proud Joe was to be able to bless me with the beautiful flowers. For Joe the blessing didn’t need to be understood, only deeply felt.
I love you Lisa. Thanks for my best birthday ever.
Lately I have been pondering about friendships and relationships in general. What makes a friend? What is the difference between a friend and an acquaintance? What if I am a friend to them, but they are not to me? When one marries another, there is an expectation of permanence so why the divorce rate? Why do relationships end?
Definition of FRIEND in the Webster’s:
1a : one attached to another by affection or esteem
2a : one that is not hostile
2b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
3 : one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4 : a favored companion
There were more definitions, but these were the important ones. I noticed that there is nothing there about the length and duration of the relationship. It is my experience that some of the some relationships are forever and some are only for a season.
I know that there have been times in my life when I have wounded and offended a valued friend. Often they have forgiven me, but the trust was destroyed and the relationship was damaged and never quite the same. I find that I am still saddened by my actions.
I love this quote that I found in the comments at Webster’s:
“A friend is someone who is there through the good as well as the bad. A friend understands a point of view while disagreeing with it. A friend remains a friend through adversity. A friend takes the time to listen despite a lack of interest. The next time someone deletes you as a “friend”, ask yourself, were they really a friend?”
We all desire healthy intimacy with our friends and our spouse, but often the thought of letting down the wall terrifies us. What if we let that one in and we are wounded? What if we don’t?
I wrote a poem years ago after my divorce from my husband of eleven years. The first lines are: “The barriers between us are all carefully maintained.
They are nurtured by guilt, fear, tears and pain.
We hold ourselves off at a distance insulated and protected,
Unable to make a commitment out of fear of being rejected.
And the armour imprisons the wearer instead of making him free . “.
There is more, but you get the idea.
Scripture says t
hat there is One who sticks closer than a brother. I am privileged to know that One. When He lives in my relationships, the loyalty and the trust level are much higher. When the wound is from a fellow who is on the same path, I must trust in the One who created us all.
I wonder if true friendship and relationship are even possible apart from knowing Jesus
and the Father? I am in awe that I can now be wounded by a close companion and walk in peace recognizing that they are not my enemy but one who is struggling to do His will. For me, I have determined that I will be a friend and cover another’s offenses. I, too, will be wary if the door they closed opens again but I will receive them..
To conclude this, I choose to love those I have wounded and those who have wounded me. I choose to live in peace with betrayal. It is okay to hurt me. I forgive and release tthe offender and I choose to walk in freedom. Thank you Father God for your amazing peace and love.
Proverbs 17:17, 18:24, 27:9