Today, as I type, I have my George Winston station on Pandora playing. The piano solos are such that I can think and reflect. They stir my soul. My soul is stirred today anyway.
A little while ago I left the house for a realtor to bring potential buyers over. I had dusted and vacuumed, grabbed the dog, and left the house with the radio playing what I think of as welcoming and soothing songs.
I had to pull the car over to cry. The dog knew to sit still on the passenger seat as I wept.
Julie is my friend’s name and we began our friendship when we were younger wives. Our friendship grew as we became young mothers and formed a play group. We made videos of our babies playing together. Her preemie Hannah sits beside Robert in one of several pictures made during a day of playing. We would bring that picture out close to their graduation and laugh and cry. During those young mother days, we would trade times of looking after our babies in an effort to help the other mother accomplish chores and errands every so often. We would linger long at the other’s car door to get one last laugh or encouragement in until the next time.
Julie had a fine sense of style. She was always put together, especially with her shoes and other accessories as she made sure they coordinated into a beautiful ensemble. She was good at this and even earned her living at this for a while at a local department store…before children.
Julie had a fine laugh and a beautiful smile. As I type, I can hear her and see her in my mind.
As our babies entered the school years we would still stay in touch and see each other at school events. Eventually, Julie would reenter the work force as a teacher. She also owned a small shop in a local store housing other booth-style shops. It was full of girl stuff…purses, jewelry, hats, and scarves. Her booth business was appropriately named, “BFF.” She was gifted with creativity and style.
When Julie found out I had cancer, she called right away. Hers was the first call I received that day that I shared the news via blog post and email. She cried on the phone asking what she could do for me. She was making a game plan of transporting me to treatments when the time came, should I need her.
That same week, she came by the house and brought me a prayer shawl she had made especially for me. Although she did this for our church as a ministry for others, she was never sure who received her shawls. This way, she picked the yarn (a super soft and pretty pinkish-lavendar) and knitted it with me in mind. She prayed while she knitted.
Once I lost my hair, she told me to go to her little booth and pick out a new hat, scarf, and purse “on the house”. And I did. I actually wore the hat and scarf, and carried the purse to David’s high school graduation.
When Robert and Sigourney were getting married, Julie brought by several kits for bridesmaids and bride and the mothers to use in case of an emergency the day of the wedding. They were filled with all sorts of things and yes, we opened them and had to use them on the big day. We were grateful for Julie‘s thinking ahead and for giving us the kits.
Julie and her oldest daughter, Hannah (a beautiful young woman now), Robert’s playgroup picture mate, came by before the wedding to give them a gift that Julie had chosen with their future home’s decor in mind. It was a beautiful painting of a flower in a vase that complements Robert and Sigourney’s home.
Julie blessed me and my family. She blessed others, too. But the blessings I am most familiar with are the treasured blessings she bestowed on me. But there are many more blessings for others just like me whose paths Julie crossed.
I got to catch up with Julie recently at a friend’s birthday party. We moved chairs together afterwards and sat head to head laughing and we cried over some things. It was a sweet moment between two friends who assumed (at least I did) that we would have many more opportunities to visit and catch up so we didn’t get to finish everything we really wanted to talk about that day.
So, I am grateful for the time we did have. I am grateful for her generous heart and her compassion. I had just hoped that at this point in her life much more happiness here would happen, not realizing that she was headed sooner than later to the perfect happiness ever.
Last night as I lay in my bed, Julie was the subject of my prayer as I prayed, “Lord, I don’t think Julie would want to live in a state of not being able to talk and move and laugh. I don’t think she would want her daughters to be burdened with the load of looking after her every need. So, if you are calling her home to You, then I treasure Your gift of our friendship here and look forward to our reunion up there with You some day. I trust You will hold her daughters Nancy and Hannah close to Your heart. I trust You to help them through losing their mother when there was much of life left for her to live…when there was so much hope on the horizon.”
I was thinking about that prayer as I came back to my own home and could hear Julie‘s sweet chuckle with her glasses perched on her nose and a cute-heeled shoe swinging from her foot. It was as if I could hear her say, “Y’all don’t need to be sad for me. I am fine. You love on my girls for me as they go through this and move on into other seasons of their lives. But, I’m fine. Wellllll, I guess I better go. I love ya!”
I love you, too, Julie!