I love how we can be drawn to those who are most unlike us from varying walks of life, job situations and backgrounds. We juggle the joys and weightiness of the day-to-day, while none of us has it altogether (as much as we’d like to). We speak truth to one another, extend grace when we mess up and cheer one another on when jumping or easing into a new adventure.
We fill our too-short time with catching-up stories and laughter but also our failures and worries, fears and struggles when there is too much real life. And just like that, the isolation we somehow settled into dissipates and renewed connections soften our hearts (harder only seconds before). Friendship filled with transparency builds bridges from one soul to the other, doesn’t it? There is just something about the closeness and comfort friends bring to the realities of life.
After spending hours at the coffee shop that Saturday, we hugged goodbye and went to our separate cars, reluctant to start the next errand on the to-do list. Minutes later, my friend knocked on my window saying her car battery was dead. We each located our jumper cables when one man and then another asked if we needed help. Oh,no, no thanks…we got this, and we started talking through our plan (with nervous laughter). The red cable connects to the red on the battery and black to black; just don’t touch the ends together. We can totally do this.
But when I lifted the hood, we had another problem. Apparently, a short, fat hose was left unattached by a mechanic who “fixed” my car a month ago. Resting on top of my battery, the hose looked as if it was an extra, but of course it wasn’t.
We had parked diagonally from one another, but no matter how I maneuvered my car, the jumper cables would not reach. Seriously wanting to handle this ourselves (what a story to tell our husbands later!), I began to realize we would not be able to get her car started unless we let someone help. We used the tools and the (limited) knowledge we had, but that was not enough. So, minutes later, when a third guy offered to help, we watched as he connected our two sets of jumper cables to make the distance between our vehicles. I stood back watching, grateful for this man who knew it was okay to do this…but I felt disappointed. This was not quite turning out to be the story of the time we saved the day with only one another and some jumper cables. Guy #3 even re-attached the “extra” hose, since unlike me, he knew its purpose and where it was supposed to go. As we thanked him profusely and he walked away, I realized we never even asked his name.
I don’t know about you, but I want to figure things out by myself and be independent. Still over and over, I realize I have to face my limitations, reach out, ask for help and then be humble enough to accept it when it’s offered.
So, I did. I have learned this is the air intake hose, and it’s back where it’s supposed to be (thank you, Guy #3).
That’s why once monthly, I’ll be featuring those who also fight hard battles, find hope right there in those seemingly impossible places and then take the scary-beautiful, brave step to share their story. Introducing Hope Speaks.
Meet Suzy and her husband, Jeff, two of our greatest friends and biggest supporters for over a decade. Brian and I have shared friendship, countless meals, prayers, a trip to the lake, dog-sitting duties and lots and lots of laughs with these two. When I was so tired of being sick and tired, Suzy invited me over with some friends and talked us through alternative strategies for healing. From then on, I had hope. After all, she healed from cancer by doing eye-opening things at home I’d never even heard of, so I thought If she can heal from something like that, well, I can, too!
Such a beautiful spirit inside and out, loving, encouraging and incredibly brave, Suzy researched and focused to build up her immune system with wildly-different strategies and then shared her story with me when I needed it most. And now, this cancer thriver has founded a non-profit, HealingStrong, to spread the word and connect others to resources and patient to patient support groups: healing from cancer and other degenerative diseases IS possible.
Here is her courageous story.
SUZY’S HEALING STRONG JOURNEY
My healing strong journey began in 2009 when a diagnosis of cancer stopped me in my tracks. Heading to surgery for a different health issue, the diagnosis of cancer that same month took me by surprise. At that time, I trusted my medical care to multiple doctors and subsequently many prescription drugs for various health issues: insomnia, neck tremors, thyroid disease, fibroid tumors, and now this …
To continue reading Suzy’s post written first for HealingStrong click here.
She believed she could, so she did. ~Author unknown
This weekend I am running a 5K with two of my lifelong best friends (outside in the dead of winter, which really feels like real winter in the south these days). For us, this is new. Our little group has gone through adventures and heartaches together–youth retreats, amusement parks, sunburns, slumber parties, first loves and the inevitable breakups, graduations, weddings, moves to other states and continents even, children, sickness, funerals; time together and even more time away.
Millions upon millions of words have been spoken, laughs have been laughed, prayers prayed, tears cried and dilemmas analyzed again and again…and again.
Each of us has gone our own way, blossomed into a (more) grown-up version of the seven and eight, thirteen and fourteen year-olds we were when we met. We are oh so different in a multitude of ways, but there is a bond here–deep love for one another and the kind of comfort that feels like the best version of home.
One could say we believe in the power of together…and hard work and sweat and maybe even tears.
We believe we can run this 5K (and that means, “finish alive,” as one friend said),
About eight years ago, we adopted a four year-old golden Pyrenees, who had been abandoned and looked a lot like a skinny Lab. We quickly found that Glory’s abusive past left her afraid of many things–garage doors in motion, garbage trucks and thunderstorms. The first month we had her, she chewed up Brian’s wallet, a package of Crayola markers and my favorite black boots. She was content sleeping right in the middle of everything or even off in a quiet place by herself. Over time, she got used to us, and we got used to her…and all that fur that required so much vacuuming.
After a while, we thought she might be bored by herself all day, so we began the search for the ideal companion. We finally came across an energetic, Labrador mix, whose ears stuck out permanently and bounced when he walked. The day we adopted this perpetual puppy, he walked right into our house and peed on our couch. Within the next week, we found Journey got carsick on trips, and he couldn’t get away fast enough when something terrifying like a grocery store receipt fell off the counter near him.
Each of them had their quirks, but there was something about them together. It was as if they were fearless; they were different dogs. On walks around the neighborhood, UPS trucks and other loud noises no longer bothered Glory. She’d just keep on walking as if she didn’t hear a thing. Where one of the dogs might shrink back when another larger dog trotted by, now they wagged their tails and barked as if they owned the neighborhood. And at the park, they’d send lazy squirrels scurrying into the safety of their trees, and Glory would look around wondering exactly how they got away so fast. Journey, though, always had his eye on them and would park himself at the bottom of the tree, hoping for their return. Those two, together, they were a pair.
Isn’t this how we are when we are with someone we love–a friend, family member, or even trusting that God is with us? Whoever-it-might-be can bring out the best in us even when we can’t seem to see it on our own. It’s like inching your way to the edge of the high dive and seeing just how far away the water is from where you are. Your knees shake and your heart pounds, but all you want to do is perch at the top where it’s safe and talk yourself into or out of taking the next step.
Then you hear:
I believe in you.
You can do this.
I’m with you.
And you start to believe more and more that just maybe those things are true.
Like Glory, we might be scarred from our past hurts or like Journey, fearful of things that don’t even make sense. But isn’t it true? When we realize we aren’t alone, we are different dogs.