The Healing Power of Friendship and Love
The importance of being there for a friend in need and acting on a “nudge to your heart” when someone you’ve lost touch with comes to mind.
THIS STORY shared by Terri Kremer, one of my long-time readers and the owner of Moose Country Quilts, illustrates the importance of acting on a nudge to your heart when a friend asks for help.
On the day Terrie read my February 2016 Bulletin, she got a call from a dear friend of hers, an 82-year-old woman who lived fifty miles away. “She asked if I could come stay overnight with her because she was not well,” Terri wrote. “Long story short, your message was about the need for encouragement, and that’s exactly what my friend needed. I turned out to be the only person that day that could convince her that she needed to go to the hospital immediately. She was in ICU for about a week, then one step up from that in ACU (Acute Care Unit) for another week. Now she is in a rehab facility hoping to gain enough strength to move to live with her younger brother and his wife.
“When she gets to talking about how slowly she is improving, I remind her that she was at death’s door not that long ago. Patience. She’s dealing with physical therapy now and needs encouragement to deal with all that too. Patience. She hates that word, but it’s one I use a lot.”
What a perfect example of the healing power of love, and the importance of being there for a friend in need; being able to give her exactly what she needed at the moment, as well as afterwards.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:12 NIV).
A Friendship Renewed
A WHILE BACK, the name of a businesswoman I’d met nearly thirty years earlier and formed an immediate friendship with fell off my Bulletin’s mailing list. I made a note then to try to find her when time allowed because we’d had a meaningful electronic relationship through the years. I knew she and her husband had retired from their homebased business and closed their website, but all my old contact information was tied to that website. It took me months to finally get around to finding her new personal email address buried in a document on my hard drive.
By then, it had been three years since we had updated one another on what we were doing, so I sent her my personal update and told her I’d been thinking of her and wanted to touch base again to see how life was going for her. Because I’d been receiving some very welcome emails from readers that year, I knew exactly what she meant when she told me my email had meant the world to her. Somehow, in spite of how long it had taken me to reconnect with her, my timing was perfect, and I don’t think it was just a coincidence that I happened to send that email when I did.
In her reply, my friend (who I’ll call “Shar” here to protect her privacy), poured out her heart to me about her mom’s long illness and death and how she had been a care giver for her and then her husband, who had vascular dementia and was living in a senior apartment that offered assisted living and nursing. She was then going through the dissolution of her marriage and was dealing with “getting rid of stuff” —from her mom’s estate, selling business equipment and supplies, and generally downsizing her life so she could eventually sell the house that then too large for just her. I naturally commiserated with her by commenting on what a massive amount of life commitments to have on one’s “proverbial plate.”
“Life,” she wrote, “can get so complicated, and trying to work and live together and handle family emergencies on a full-time basis is darn hard! But I have come so far—SO FAR—and LIFE is on its way back. We all have to find ways to adapt and adjust.”
Once Shar and I picked up our communication, she expressed the hope of seeing me again someday, writing, “There is SO MUCH we could share—maybe we will have the time.” I immediately invited her to come and stay with me for a couple of days, knowing it would be wonderful for both of us to see one another again after so many years. I was sure that we’d talk around the clock once she got here and that our visit would be a huge blessing to both of us.
In spite of the long drive to my home, she did come for a visit, and we found we had much to give to one another at that stage of our lives—a listening ear, understanding, encouragement, hope, and love. We’re unlikely to ever have this kind of meeting again, but it was just what both of us needed then.
THIS EXPERIENCE prompted me to make a list of other people I hadn’t communicated with for some time, just to let them know I cared about them and was glad to have them in my life. Maybe like Shar, I thought, their lives might have gotten “complicated,” and it was up to me to make the first move to reconnect. Results of my “reach-out phone calls” were so positive that I continued this practice throughout 2020 by calling old high school chums, home-business associates, and relatives I hadn’t been in touch with for a long time. I could write reams about the emotional and spiritual benefits of this kind of communication, but suffice it to say that I’m publishing this article now to encourage you to follow my lead . . . and see what happens.
I’m sure you know someone (or several someones) who would be blessed to hear from you NOW. And if by chance you’ve been getting “heart nudges” about someone in particular, I urge you to respond as soon as possible. You just never know how important this contact from you might be to them—or you.
Adapted from one of Barbara’s Brabec Bulletins; updated for publication in 2021.
Living in the Age of Electronic Friendships. A reminder of all the personal and business friends you have now that you never would have had if you hadn’t begun to communicate electronically with others.
Family & Friends T/C