Friendship Requires Strength: First in 10 Part Series Based on Women in High Def
A dislocated and broken ankle radiated excruciating pain throughout my body. My friends carried me across a remote island in the Prince William Sound of Alaska. Ten days later my stretcher-bearers carried me once again as I entered a different trek, one with no end in sight and a pain like I and none of these friends had ever experienced; it was the sudden death of my 19 year old daughter.
Time on the stretcher provides opportunity for life lessons. I believe we are either on the stretcher, a stretcher-bearer our self, or isolated and wounded in need of stretcher-bearers. For me I quickly learned I hate being carried. No, I hate the reason or need to be carried. Physical or emotional dependency upon someone else usually comes through suffering. It’s a humbling experience to be fully dependent upon others. Stretcher-bearers take different positions. The position at the head is where one speaks words of love, encouragement, and prays with you. The one at your side provides compassionate presence—just being there. The position at one’s feet is one of service. For me this is the hardest to receive because I must endure complete helplessness. The dear friend at my feet attended my physical needs on the remote island with a bed pan. Later, on the day my daughter died she cradled me, wept with me, and tenderly scrubbed Betadine off my casted foot and toes and painted my toenails. She believed for me when I was hopeless and didn’t think I could make it through the days ahead. The polish on my toenails became the reminder that I’m loved.
Can someone have faith for another? I used to doubt it—now I know we can. When I believed I couldn’t make it through another day my friends continued to have faith for me. After being carried on a stretcher the bible story of another stretcher incident became quite personal. In Mark 2:3-5 a paralyzed man had friends like mine. They fully believed the only One who could help their loved one stood inside a house, and yet the doorway was blocked. These friends’ faith never wavered–they pressed on. They carried their friend to the top of the house. I cannot image this was easy. Then they dug through the clay roof to lower their friend into the presence of Jesus. Jesus responded and because of their faith he healed the paralytic. My dear friend, my prayer for you is to likewise know your position with the stretcher. Are you being carried along by others, in need of others, or, are you carrying someone yourself?
*Be sure to listen to the show (Aug 1st at 1:30 PST on KKIM and thereafter on podcast above) and comment about your friendship experiences. You’ll be entered to win a copy of Women in High Def, Boldly Living Your Purposes with Vibrant Clarity at the end of the 10 chapter series.