Today would have been my Daddy’s 98th birthday! It seems like a good day to write, as a way to celebrate his life. He was a precious friend and I miss him. It was one of my life’s rare privilege’s to be at his side when he left for heaven.
You could say I’ve been reticent to blog. Mainly because I know the sad truth: I will never be as funny as Eric Allen. And I’ll never be as radically poignant and penetrating as Ann Voscamp. And I’ll never be as smart as that darn Brant Hanson. And I’ll never be as helpful as Lysa TerKeurst. So I’ve pondered: what is the point of adding me to the blogosphere?
So now that I have self-depreciatingly revealed that I’m not funny, poignant, smart, or helpful, I’ve got something to say! Thanks for reading me in spite of me:)
I have been pretty screwed up about friendships. It has taken lots of counseling hours for me to figure it out. Something about being raised by a Momma who wrestles with borderline personality disorder. Something about trust. Something about my ability to be authentic.
Long story short, Jesus has been gently untangling the web of my soul, teaching me firsthand about friendships. He gave me a really good friend in Indiana named Julie. We became fast friends. You know how it is when you meet someone who’s like you – same age, kids the same age, same church, same sense of humor, same energy level. Because of the quirkiness of my radio personality, I’ve got some interesting walls up, but she promptly and efficiently busted those down. From January to August 2011, we grew to be close friends.
And the whole time she and I were becoming friends, she was slowly losing another.
Julie is in a women’s Bible study group like I’ve never experienced. They have been together for 10 years solid. (Me? I’ve moved 15 times in my adult life leaving rare and beautiful friends waving at the moving truck in several states.) Julie has grown close to these women as she has cultivated deep, true friendships. They’ve done life together. They’ve had babies, they’ve lost babies. They’ve wept together over relationships. They’ve laughed ‘til it hurts. They’ve prayed cumulative, countless hours over the years. They’d do anything for each other.
I found myself admiring their bond, almost aching for it, respectful and thankful for such a long-lasting union between a group of women.
Carolyn was one of Julie’s close friends. Carolyn was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2009. The friends had watched her become sadly frail from chemo and then rebound several times. Julie, with obvious pained concern, told me that she wasn’t sure Carolyn would make it this time. I could feel Julie’s pain over the idea of losing her friend, pain over Carolyn’s young son losing his Mommy, pain over Carolyn’s husband losing his bride.
I remember feeling helpless to help my friend help her friend.
One overcast Indiana day, while watching our kids at a playground, we talked about the end of Carolyn’s life coming closer every day. I can remember staring at the wood chips, racking my brain for something I could do. That very day I contacted a couple of organizations that grant last wishes, seeing if something special could be done for Carolyn and her family.
But really, all Carolyn needed by that time was prayer and the love of her family and close friends. Carolyn was about to meet her Savior. Her close-knit group of friends longed to be there for her however they could.
And then Carolyn went to heaven on August 20, 2011.
I was in Louisiana the day of Carolyn’s funeral, so I couldn’t even help my friend Julie by watching her kids while she was at the funeral. I later heard that Carolyn’s husband gave one of the most beautiful eulogies many had ever heard.
If you have ever been personally close to someone as they die, you know the feelings of helplessness that can come when you realize there is nothing you can do. You hold a hand, you pray, you trust, you comfort, you believe, you wait.
You rest or wrestle with Sovereignty.
Sometimes you ache for something you can do that would truly make a difference.
My friend Julie is a runner.
She doesn’t quilt or bake cakes.
She doesn’t blog or sell jewelry.
She runs. She’s a really good runner.
Julie wants to run for Carolyn.
These close-knit friends who loved Carolyn deeply and often felt helpless to help her now want to help others in Carolyn’s honor. So in January, five of them are running 13.1 miles in Phoenix to raise money to help find a cure for leukemia and to comfort those who are suffering.
So, friend, for my friend who is running for her friend, could you do something for us? Please pray for her group, that it would be an amazing experience as they run the half marathon – a time of deep bonding and fresh healing.
I told Julie maybe enough of us could give $10 so that they could hit their goal by December 15th. Julie and her friends committed to raising almost $15,000 and now only have $7000 to go toward their goal!
It would just take 700 of us giving $10. As soon as I post this blog for you to read, I’m going to make a donation. Please consider joining me. Here is the link for you to donate towards a cure for leukemia and towards comforting hurting familes.
And here is a link to read what Carolyn’s husband said to honor her at the funeral – beautiful, stirring words about his love Carolyn. It’s hard to imagine what you would say in such a situation – he was brave and eloquent.
This has been my first blog since leaving K-LOVE. Thank you for reading it. My first official entry into the blogosphere is about friendship and the journey we are all on to figure out what a friend is, how a friend acts, what a friend does…
…and Who overarchingly aches to be our Best Friend.