The window in my van was broken. It was stuck open about an inch or so. It wouldn't budge. I parked it in the garage and the next morning was greeted by rain. I sighed and found a roll of duct tape. I carefully taped over the gap before heading off for work.
My husband called the shop. The estimates left something to be desired so he called an old friend of ours. This friend is a mechanic. My husband met him at the college nearly 20 years ago. He's a great mechanic. In the early days, when we were really scrapping the bottom of the barrel financially, we had what you might call, mature and experienced cars. Jay kept them running for a fraction of the cost. He gave us easy payment plans with no interest or penalty fees. If unexpected trouble came, a phone call to Jay was sufficient. "Sure, I can hold that check. You just let me know when everything is okay again."
In the days before we had AAA, Jay was just a phone call away. "You're stuck at work because your car won't start? What happens when you turn the key? It sounds like you need a new starter. I'll pick one up on my way to get you." "You're stranded where? Oh, I know where that is. Let me bundle up the kids. My wife is gone right. I'll be out to get you as soon as possible. I'll being my truck so we can tow your car." You get the idea. This is one of those friends you can call up at 2:30 a.m. in the dead of winter and they will be there for you.
Over the past few years, we didn't see each other as much. Our vehicles gradually became less experienced. Jay moved on to a different employer. They moved further north and we moved further south. Life goes on.
Today after work, my husband and I headed up to get the window fixed. We brought two cars because it was going to be awhile. We could just go get some dinner and take care of a few errands. I handed over the keys. Jay stopped me and told me his wife would be back in about an hour or so. Would I be willing to talk to her?
I stared at him a bit puzzled. "She had her first chemo a week and a half ago. She was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in August. I think she'd really like to talk to you."
I nodded. "Okay, we'll be back after dinner."
Later, I sat beside my friend. She shared her fears with me. I thought about the dark days and nights I experienced and shared them with her. We talked for three hours. Yes, we did cry together but we also laughed a lot. Laughter is critical. It's a gift from God.
Before we left, prayed for the two of them. They are embarking on a very tough journey. My husband and I knew this path far too well. We didn't really want to remember those days and yet...it wasn't about us, it was about God.
I took my friend's hand and let her know she can call me anytime she needs to talk. Her eyes filled with tears because she knew I'd been on this road before. I understood the fear and anxiety. I understood the countless tests and all of the uncertainty. My husband had walked this road before as well. He knows what it is like to see your spouse deteriorate before you eyes. He understands the feelings of fear and helplessness all too well.
As we hugged our goodbyes, I realized that in some twisted way, I was thankful I was a breast cancer survivor. You see, had I not walked that path I would not have been able to minister where she was at nearly as effectively. When you connect with a fellow-survivor you open up in a way which is difficult to do otherwise.
While I would have much rather avoided this path, I have to say I am thankful that I could be there for my friend. If I had the perfect life, how could I ever expect to minister to an imperfect world?
Though the path may be dark, weary and surrounded by fear, going through adversity in God's hands is far better than any so-called perfect life this world could offer. Maybe, just maybe we will someday understand that God's way is best...even if it does go down some very dark paths!
Beautiful. Yes, God can take those very dark paths He leads us on for His good. So often we do not see any further than what is directly before us and I am so thankful when God shines the light a little so I can have confirmation of what He was doing on those very dark paths where I did not understand.
Great blog! I really needed to hear this. God bring us trhough those dark paths so we can bless others with what we have learned. I will keep your friend in my prayers!
Wow! This is a very old blog I wrote back in 2008 about two months after I completed cancer treatment. I am pleased to report that I am doing well and so is the friend I wrote about in this blog. Praise God!