There is one, you might have noticed, who has been mentioned here and there along this journey. From the first afternoon in the ER when she held my papers for me as I signed my confessions of no insurance, to being a co-laborer in the book study, Cindy has been a presence in my life for many years. We have watched our children grow up through all the things that children grow up through. She has gone before me in this, her daughters babysitting my children, my daughter baby sitting her grandchildren. Many a time I have gone to her to gain wisdom in dealing with my teens who wanted to be adults, and my young adults acting something like teens. She is a woman who loves the Scripture, and is careful to base her advice on the foundation of sound doctrine.
During the darkest hours of my journey, she has found minutes and hours in a day where there were none to come to me bearing red wine, dark chocolate, and kleenex. She has listened to me mourn over helpers who have moved on to other things, over losing my soulmate but not my husband, over my mother-in-law dying holding someone else’s hand. She has listened mercifully as I expressed anger over things I couldn’t understand and whined incessantly about things not going my way. And, often without a word, she has made me want to be good.
There are some who have scoffed at the wine and chocolate part of her approach, but I have become a believer in sharing in the good gifts the Lord has provided. I think she understands that when life is full of loss it is good to be reminded that there are still some lovely things about. We also have a common appreciation for good tea and coffee. One of my favorite memories of her is seeing her look into a cup of tea with half-and-half and speak with wonder of the beauty of its color, smell, and warmth to her hands. I also love the fact that her response to the doctor’s instruction that she have one cup of coffee a day was to find a very, very big cup.
Because of her vocation as a pastor’s wife, Cindy has to keep quiet about much in her life. She is not quick to share her own burdens, and when she does, it is in guarded words and innuendoes (as opposed to the emotional vomiting that marks my communication these days). While I understand this need, and am thankful for her carefulness, I often pray that the Lord will give me insight into her needs without her having to tell me. On the rare occasion when she lets down the barriers a little and gives me a glimpse of the burdens she bears, I consider it a great privilege to come alongside her in them. Her little confidences that are so carefully worded have become to me a great treasure. I like to think that over the years I have gotten better about reading between the lines. I do my best not to press her to share what she needs to keep close to her heart, but I look for the unspoken and do what I can to bring cheer and comfort to her in it.
It may seem funny to say this about a friend, but Cindy is one of those people with whom I will enjoy growing old. I love having shared the years with her, and hope that the Lord is pleased to let us continue on this journey in close proximity to each other.
I’ll get by!