Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Me and My Friend

I sat with my friend today. Have you ever sat next to a friend while they had to describe to someone the death of their child? No one ever imagines that conversation to be overheard. My friend, with phone by her ear, with words pouring from her lips, sat before me broken and battered. I heard her once again share the impact upon her life the morning her son's life was taken from this earth. 

Can I be real with you? I can't remove this heartbreaking story from my heart. It's not just a story I read in a book. It's life. It's my friend. My beloved friend. I see the images she describes. I keep myself together when I am with her. But when I'm alone it hits. I share with my husband, but still to this day I have never shared with anyone the full story of that day. I can't speak the words. My heart bleeds for her and as a friend there isn't anything I can do. Sure, I can pray with her. I sit with her. I can help her fight for justice, but in no way can I take her indescribable pain away. Sometimes I simply feel useless. If there was only more I could do for her. I keep my phone next to me as I sleep at night. I can only imagine what her nights are like. She's afraid to go to sleep. She's fearful of waking up. It's playing the nightmare over and over again. Reliving the tragedy that took her precious son from this earth, from his family and friends. 

It could have been my child. It could have been my grandchild. It too could have been yours. Let that really sink in for a bit. In about 10 seconds her world changed forever. How people to go work at night and as they get off work at 3am and begin drinking is beyond me. It's something I can't comprehend. To be so drunk, double over the limit, put the key in the ignition and take off for a race with your buddies when children are standing out waiting for the bus to pick them up. They have only been awake for a little while. Long enough to rush the sleep from their eyes and try to prepare for the day. They hurry and eat or skip breakfast because there's just too much to do. Kisses and hugs. Goodbyes from their parents expecting that at a little after 3 they will be getting off the bus and rushing to the door. We take our precious moments for granted. Not any more. Not me. Not after Sept. 12. My friend, Bobbie, will never kiss her son, Donnie, good morning again. 

Now she fights and waits. Shares and reaches out. January 15th Donnie would have turned 16. The birthday every child longs for in excitement. The birthday every parent is fearful of because now their child will be getting their license. I remember those nights of waiting up and praying for safety over my children. Donnie didn't get that chance. No first drive, no first date, no movie night with his buds in his first car, and I might add that he absolutely loved cars! 

On January 15th his momma, daddy, and family settled at Orchard Park in St. Clair, Missouri for a balloon release in honor of Donnie. He would have loved this night. The clear night sky gave way for the bright stars to shine. He was a lover of the night sky. The balloons lighting up the night was breathtaking. More so it was heartbreaking. My eyes weren't so much on the balloons, but on my friend. She is so brave. Such a warrior. If you could truly know my friend you know she is fearless. Lights up the world with her personality, but now everything is different. 

She doesn't know if she can laugh. Can you imagine your friend, one who loves laughter, being fearful of laughing? Laughing is a part of our friendship. She's that friend I can act totally goofy with and the next minute be as serious as all get out. Most of all she's that friend that I can talk to for hours about Jesus. It's pretty cool when every conversation always comes back to our love for the Lord. 

Friendship is a beautiful and precious gift. Being sisters in Christ make it even more special. What can I do? I know that prayer is powerful. Listening, just being an ear gives her room to vent and bring healing. We hold hands and we pray together. We look to tomorrow with hope. Remember the story of Moses as Aaron and Hur held up his arms when he grew tired? {Exodus 17} They stood with him in faith. This is what we do for our friends. We stand. It doesn't matter how much time it takes or how tired we become. We hold them up with everything we have and call upon the Lord to give strength and lead the way. There's David and Jonathan. Lazarus and Jesus. John and Jesus. Elijah and Elisha. Friendships that go beyond expression. These are friendships that are lasting and powerful and leave behind a legacy marked with love and honor. 

Bobbie counts the days she has been without her son. These are days I see my children and make plans for my grand-babies to stay all night. The relationship I have with my son, Jacob, is one that resembles the bond she shard with Donnie. A mother/son bond is unbreakable. It's something almost indescribable. My son had just shared with me that I would forever be the only woman who never broke his heart. Do you know what those words meant to this proud momma? Bobbie doesn't get to hear precious words from Donnie any longer. 

But I can tell you that she loves her son and she was the best momma to him. They shared the kind of relationship that most only dream of having with their sons. So, how do I share with her the joys in my life with my children and grandchildren? All I want to do is protect her. I want to guard her from everything that will bring her to even more tears. 

She misses her son and I miss my friend. Isn't that selfish of me? God forgive me. The talks we have shared, the laughter that we shared, the dinners and movies, books and love of so much is as though it has evaporated. A mist that has risen and has left us dry and longing for something more. 

You know what we long for? Jesus. We long for Him to come and save His children from this evil world we live in. We are unsatisfied with this place we must call home for now. Donnie is already home. He has already seen the face of Jesus. In that my friend can breathe with peace and comfort. But that doesn't mean she isn't missing her son. Everyday brings something new. A new battle to face. A new court date. What happens when she sees these men who killed her son? 

I want to surround her in love and just wrap her up and shield her from everything to come, but you know what? There is nothing that can bring more pain than what she is already living each and every day. She knows the Word, knows the promises of God. She bravely walks in faith. She is a woman I admire. A friend I adore. A sister that I will stand with to the end. I just so happen to have the best girlfriend God could have ever sent my way. 

Friendship is a 'no matter what' kind of love. You're just there. Your presence means everything. You stay for however long, do whatever necessary, and simply be a friend. Friendship goes through the valley and over the mountaintops. I am longing for the mountaintop. I am praying healing for Bobbie and her family. God is moving. Oh, on those days where she can breathe a bit, God, in His gentle way showers her in His love. On those days she wants to scream for all of heaven to hear He is there with an unimaginable strength. This is the side you never imagine friendship to go. This is the road no mother should have to walk. And as a friend, I am here to walk with her, every step of the way. Just as I know she too would be walking with me. 

A few weeks back I knelt at Donnie's place of rest and promised him that I would help his mom fight for justice. I would stand by her side and do all I can with what I have. So, I trust and I pray that God will lead. That He will open doors and make a way for justice to prevail. 

Friends, we never know what tomorrow will bring. We never know when that call will come. Nothing in life can prepare us for such devastation. The unimaginable just doesn't make sense. But what we can do is be there for one another. Not just give our words, but put action behind them. Be the friend you would want at your side. Embrace each day and make time for those around you. Don't let the busyness of life get in the way of making time for family and friends. 

If there is someone hurting in your life right now I encourage you to reach out to them. Do what you can and be the vessel God calls you to be. Be the Jonathan to David. Be the Aaron and Hur to Moses. Don't put busyness before people. Open your heart and allow God to move. Although this life shakes us to the core, God is unshakable. This is what we remind one another when everything seems hopeless. Friends, with God there is always room for hope. He is our God of hope. 

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Albert Schweitzer

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." 
Walter Winchell

"The most beautiful discovery that true friends can make is that they can grow separately without growing apart." 
Elizabeth Foley 

"A friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your heart." 
Kathleen Grove 

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