I am reading and studying through The Friendships of Women by Dee Brestin. [You may remember I was going to study Romancing Your Child's Heart next, however the book could not be found on my shelf. I've since gotten a copy (thanks to a good friend), but for now I'm studying this book.]
Chapter one of Brestin's book talks about greeting scenes and parting scenes as well as how girls are gifted for friendships. She uses the Biblical examples of Jonathan and David (I Samuel 20:41-42) and Naomi and her daughter-in-laws (Ruth 1:9-10).
I've had many painful partings in my life, however I wrote about two this morning and thought I'd share them with you. I've just copied and pasted from my journal.
I remember a parting scene in my own life when a dear friend and her family moved to Michigan. I remember it because it was so sad that they were leaving. Our children had played together since almost birth, she and I had become close in sharing prayer requests and keeping accountable and even more than that our husbands had 'clicked' and were good friends. They were 'iron sharpening iron' with each other. Knowing that they would be 8 hours away was heart wrenching. That was 9 1/2 years ago and the Lord has allowed us to remain friends and we still keep in touch pretty regularly.
The other parting scene in my own life that remains etched forever is when my friend Julie died. Her husband called and said that by all indications her time on this earth was very short. He said he wanted me to come and be with her. A friend watched my children and I drove to Columbus with tears aching in my throat. I arrived just as dinner was being served and her husband said it was great timing as I could sit with Julie as they all ate together. God allowed me to witness her last hours, I believe, so that I would rejoice as she was ushered into heaven, seeing the pain she was in here on earth. I read Scripture, I sang, I stroked her beautiful face that had wasted away by the cancer. I talked to her as though she could hear every word, even though I wasn't sure if she could or not. I told her how much she meant to me and to her family. I told her to go to Jesus--that she had fought the good fight and I knew she would hear those sweet words from our Savior---"Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord." A single tear slipped from the corner of her eye as mine poured unchecked down my cheeks. Not even one hour later, she breathed her last labored breath and she was with Jesus. Appropriately her devoted husband was by her side. I was snuggling her babies on my lap reading book after book and choking back my raw emotions. Even nearly 3 years later the memory of her brings tears to my eyes. My heart aches with the pain of parting...not only for me, of course, but for her husband, three growing children and her extended family and friends.
Despite the pain that parting brings it is important to go hug goodbye to the traveling family, sit by the bedside of a dying friend, even kiss my hunny at the door before he leaves for work. Friendship and love are not only for the good times and fun times, but also for the hard times, the growing times, the painful times. The latter dig a well of growth and depth to my life that otherwise would not be there. This reminds me of a quote that roughly says that it's in the valleys that we grow. Life is not all mountain top experiences, in fact in my life those have been far and few between. However God is growing me into the person He wants me to be. A deep, passionate, loving person who treasures the people He has put on the path with me.
Tomorrow--greeting scenes. :)
I think it's so precious that I'm answering these questions today. Julie's birthday is on Friday, Feb.12. I've been thinking about her for weeks now, anticipating her birthday and what that means to those who miss her deeply. God is faithful. Through this study today He has reminded me that it is important to be present with my loved ones, whether that means in the fun times or the sorrowful times. He has given us today to be present with the ones He has in our lives. May I take the time to love and to growth with the family and friends I come into contact with today.