Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Fabulous Friends

     In his book, The Council of Dads, Bruce Feiler talks about what values he wants his girls to learn from his friend, Max.
The loyalty of the friend who sees how far I've come instead of how far I have to go.  The dignity of the person who has devoted his entire life to serving others.  The self-respect of the man who insists on meeting his own standards instead of succumbing to those of others.
     This passage got me to thinking about the incredible friends God put in my life to bring me through some of the most trying times of cancer. There's Sis, who, even though we are related, began and continues to be one of my best friends and biggest supporters.  Cat, who guided me into missions and joined me for many adventures, slept on the floor beneath my hospital bed after my first surgery and made sure the nurses were doing what they were suppose to all night.  Several friends took turns staying with me when I wasn't able to use my arms to care for myself...Cat taught Sis (who hates the sight of blood) to care for the 4 drains that made me feel like a science experiment; Aunt S accompanied me to chemo and stayed with me cooking, cleaning and caring for me when she had challenges of her own to deal with; Em, my precious friend from across the hall and later halfway across the U.S. and back again, stayed a few nights and continues to check in on me; S, who has taken care of my income taxes since I was a senior in high school and joined in on several mission trips, sat with me through chemo and kept me talking and entertained so the nausea didn't have time to get me down; L, who I've taught with for years and watched live out her practical, unwavering faith, accompanied me to chemo, encouraged me, challenged me and cared for me; the senior girls from my small group who visited me in the hospital and made me smile...especially R when she tried the compression sleeves; G, who lived her faith as she accompanied me to chemo, prayed for and with the nurses who cared for her during her own hospital stays, and reminded me that we never cease to exist...some of us step into eternity before others.  R would call me from church on Sunday mornings when I wasn't able to be there, and I would listen to the worship service via phone. There were scores of others who came to visit me in the hospital and at home; some I read about in the journal Sis continued to keep for me so I would know what went on even when the meds put me out. I can't fail to mention the incredible ladies I teach with (Some are my former students!) that have become my second family.  They encouraged me through visits, cards and meals, always reminding me that I was loved.  Sometimes, when I was trying to "be okay" after chemo, my principal would see me in the hall and send me home, but I never worried about my job. She kept an eye on G and me to make sure we didn't overdo it, but never wanted to take our dignity and love of our jobs away.  I've heard it said that if you have one close friend in a lifetime, you should consider yourself blessed.  I consider myself blessed beyond measure!

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