Sunday, March 26, 2017
Sunday Afternoon Tea - The influence of a friend
When my friend messaged me to tell me she was sending an email, I knew what it might be about. BB and I have been friends since the 1990s, my oldest (as in how long we've known each other) Internet friend, including Kathy.
Her email was to tell me Kathy had been rushed to the hospital and was probably not going to make it. Kathy hasn't been online since about the time this blog was started and we communicated through phone calls and letters. I deeply dislike talking on the phone but BB and Kathy talk quite often. I think Kathy knew how much I cared for her because she was one of a couple people I did chat with on the phone, my daughter being the other.
A couple days after receiving the email, Kathy's husband called us to say she had passed away during the night. It was a bittersweet moment. She had been in ill health and ready to meet Jesus for a long time. She was where she wanted to be and we were left wondering about a world without her.
We were an unlikely set of sister-friends with me living in the Midwest, BB in Texas, and Kathy in what she liked to call "the third world country of New Mexico", the land of Hatch chilies and rattle snakes and scorpions.
She was a master story teller and perhaps the funniest person I have known. For instance, there was the time when she was still able to email when she told me about her new pet. From the way she talked about it, I thought it was a dog. I mean, for months I thought it was a dog. Then one day I realized her new pet was... a cow. Albeit a cow that thought it was a dog.
Perhaps the greatest gift Kathy gave me was when I was going through the period of intense trials when she told me often she believed God was allowing me to go through great tribulations so I could help others go through the Great Tribulation. Such conversations always ended up with a theological discussion about the possibility of the Church going through "the Tribulation" and how I most definitely did not want to be on the planet at that time.
However, I knew what she was saying. He was teaching and training me to be there for others when they experienced hard times. That was to be my message. That was to be my ministry. It was the answer to my "why" prayers. Kinda. Sorta.
I thought of those words this past year as I've watched my daughter go through her own time of intense trials with the house search and other "little foxes" along the way. She would call or message to talk because she knew I had walked that path before. Some would probably tell her to be happy she had a good temporary house, her husband has a job, and they will eventually get through this. Those words don't mean much when you are in the thick fog of uncertainty.
Stephanie and I are both nesters, people who care about Home and growing our roots deeply into that Place God lands us. I knew that feeling of being in limbo... untethered... unsure where the future would take us. How can we make plans or write lists when everything is so unsure? What about Thanksgiving and Christmas and our familiar stuff? It was as hard for her as it was for me years before and all those little foxes, those small trials in comparison to the house search, seemed magnified when going through that level of uncertainty.
Through the years I have thought of Kathy's words as I write, especially here on the Sunday Tea blog posts. This has never been a blog which only talks about the pretty stuff of life, no matter how much I love fine china and tea parties. For I know that life is hard. Darn hard. But I know that God never wastes any trial and He will bring us through as we depend on Him and His Word.
I also know that the trials are made easier when we wrap an apron around our waist and cook a simple meal or bake cookies for those we love. Along the path of our journey from birth to that time He calls us home, we need the friendships provided along the way. I'm thankful for the technology that allows close friendships with people I would have never met in real life... starting with BB and Kathy and continuing to those friendships made through this blog.
Someday we will meet each other in person and I'm happy to say at that time we will be perfectly lovely inside and out. No more battling the flesh as we stomp our feet and pout or trying to hide those extra pounds. I can hardly wait to see my son and my mom and hopefully my pets and my friends. Kathy will be there with her beloved kitty, Pudge. I don't know about the cow... but anything is possible in Eternity.
Image: Family Circle by Lee Stroncek