She's not someone I see very often. In fact, I've seen her less than 5 times in the last 20 years.
And I have talked to her on the phone about as many times. Typically we text.
I haven't been a very good friend to her over the years. I went MIA for a majority of the time after college.
But she showed up at my dad's funeral and has continued to send me random texts in the months since. There's no rhyme or reason to them, but they always come at a time when I need to know that someone knows that grief doesn't end at a funeral. (Actually, that's probably when the real grief starts.)
I received one text on a Sunday that said she was praying for me because going to church after her dad died was hard for her. Just that morning, I was telling someone how singing songs about death (which we do a lot of in church) made me sad and relieved at the same time. Sad because death seems so final, but relieved (maybe even joyful) because Jesus overcame it and the power of that overwhelms me.
Here's what I've learned from my friend:
- When God brings people to mind, I should let them know. It doesn't need to be a grand gesture, just a simple text or comment on their IG pic or blog post will often suffice.
- Never think that my grief/challenges are unique to me. Someone else around me is going through, has gone through or is about to go through the same thing.
- God speaks to us through friends as much as He does through the Bible and church. And if we see them as such, life is so much more fun.
- Even though we don't deserve it, grace abounds. I can hold grudges or I can give grace to those who don't live up to my expectations.
What I'm trying to do is to ask myself every morning, "Who do I need to reach out to?" It might be a co-worker, a friend or even one of my daughters, but there is always a face that comes to mind. Sometimes I text. Sometimes I make it a point to have a conversation. One time, I just ordered a book for her and had it sent. Every day it looks different.
And some days, I fail and am too busy looking inside myself to do more than survive my day.
But, even if I only reached out to 1 person each week, that would be over 50 for the year. And if YOU reached out to 1 person per week, that would make over 100. And if we each invited a friend to do it with us, that's over 400. And we could go on and on here...
But it all starts with ME being willing to reach out...