kingdom aMy heart has been heavy today. My mind reflective. My eyes watery. My prayers continuous despite the business of trying to line everything up for the move to our new home. You see, a friend decided to take a trip out of the fiery turmoil of painful days, through the rising waters that engulfed the night in a starless darkness to a place where she could walk with her shepherd in a beautiful field of wild flowers.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”~Is 43:2

Our English vocabulary is often inadequate. “Love” – “Friends” are words used often in our culture. Words thrown around helter-skelter until the wisdom of the word becomes a blurred image of what it should represent.

We have “friends” on Facebook. We have “friends” in the workplace. We have “friends” that we hang with every now and then. We “love” ice cream. We “love” the latest celebrity that has incited us to drool.

Perhaps that is why I am fascinated with Hebrew. Each letter, each jot and tittle, sways the meaning within the context of the other words around it. While a word may technically represent a definition, the subtleties of the marks and surrounding words change the connotation and interpretation.Wisdom hidden in the word – waiting to be found.

“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”~Ps 18:28

Today, I am remembering my friend. Her laughing voice that carried a smile through every word. A smile that always traveled in her eyes. The way she introduced herself when she was the “new” kid in our small rural junior high school How she was always rushing in where I feared to tread and daring me to follow.

Like most friends, we laughed. We spent hours on the phone (you know – those contraptions with long cords and parents hanging on every word). We cheryl 1970 awhispered…over boys. We cried…over boys. We fought..over boys. I wrote poetry…over boys…when she was heart-broken, and she took me for long drives when I was in the same weepy state…over boys. We double dated. We married – I was her maid of honor and 10 years later, her second marriage to the same man – inspired hubby and me to pull off our wedding in just a few weeks. We raised our children along side each other.We went years without talking and then talked for hours as if we had just talked the day before. Our cell phones on speaker as we moved around – laughing about life – planning future visits – and crying when the pain was at its worse.

I can count on one hand the friends that truly “know” me. They have seen past the surface and know my ugliness – my pain – my sorrow – my love – just as I know theirs. They have walked some pretty dark paths with me and provided Light when I was sure I would never see the Light again because my chosen path was so bloody, filthy and littered. And even though I wasn’t always the “best-of-friends”, Cheryl was one of those friends who provided a Light unto my path when I needed it.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”~Jn 14:1-4

Our last conversations these past few months always circled back to Our Father pig roast 1993and His Son. She knew the Shepherd was waiting in the field just beyond the mist, and she had found the path home. I admire her courage, her fortitude as she walked this last path, and I can’t believe that she won’t be on the other end of my phone any more. Yet here I am – smiling as I write this because she has done it again. She has rushed ahead of me and I can see her daring me to follow. She is my friend, and she knows that eventually, I will get there. I’ll tell you this, when I do arrive, she better be ready to talk for a few hours. Hopefully – we won’t have to use a phone, her voice will be laughing, and I will be able to see that sparkling smile in her eyes again. Love you, Cheryl, and Blessings!Be! to your family.


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