In Praise of Friendship

Their voices drift out to me.

I am poised for knocking but their song beats my hand to the door.

Four kids. My two and two of their best buds.

Singing.

Hand stutters in mid-air as I pause. Lean back against hall wall.

Voices lift in unison, gathering me in the rhythm.

These four have been friends all of their lives. Their beginnings almost parallel, some of these lilting voices were first heard by the others in utero–as mothers laughed and grew together.

They have only recently abandoned entertaining their parents with puppet shows and hokey commercials. Started sequestering up here in this room.

Away from the grownups.

Here they have written stories and illustrated picture books. They have created an economy of bottle caps and play money.

And tonight, apparently, they have written a song.

Okay, it’s more like a chant…but it’s catchy.

It sweeps me into its embrace.

I listen for the individual quality of each voice and my breath catches.

In this moment I hear their comfort with one another—but more. When I listen closely, I hear each one—can make out the familiar tones—and I hear how their differences collide and make something beautiful.

I am hearing the story of their friendship.

This auditory portrait makes me think of the mother of the other two.

My friend.

She is downstairs, falling asleep on my couch. She buried her father only yesterday; the culmination of a forty-four day journey.

It was forty-four days from his diagnosis to his death.

And my friend is exhausted.

Exhausted from grief.

Exhausted from watching her father suffer.

Exhausted from saying goodbye.

She needed to be with us tonight. Because she knows we love her. Needed us to hold her up for a little while.

Tonight, I stand here in this hall and give praise for friendship. Against a backdrop of precious harmonies, I give thanks.

Oh, Lord, where would I be without my friends to hold me up?

You give such good things, Father. You give such good things.

Comments

  1. says

    Very sweet post, Laura.
    I agree….where would I be without my friends.
    I was with two of them just last night. We meet (usually 4 of us) monthly for dinner. Each with unique circumstances going on in our lives at the present & sharing those with one another. One gal reminded us last night that it was 21 years ago this past Feb. that her son that she carried full term died. That was the saddest thing I’d ever personally experienced. Just times like that with friends…..close friends.
    I have a co-worker going through a lot right now. I talked to her on the phone last night after I got home. She cried. I tried to console.
    Friends are amazing.
    I am so sorry for your friend’s loss.
    What a blessing for her and her children to have a haven of rest at your home. So sweet!
    Love you, my friend.
    Valerie

  2. says

    Beautiful message sweet sister.

    There is nothing like the beauty of genuine friendship.

    I love you. I also wanted to thank you for being such a willing spirit unto the LORD. You are a tremendous blessing to so many…

  3. says

    Dear Laura,
    Thank you for sharing this and the reminder of how sweet friendship is. I know I have been so blessed and held up by people, my friends around me. I can see a few people in my life that need that rest and holding up that you so demostrated and talked about here.

    Thank you so much… and praise God that he used you to bring comfort to your friend and her kids… giving them a safe haven.
    God bless,
    Heather

  4. says

    Oh, thank you, Laura.
    Friends are rare jewels who walk with us when things are beautiful and when they are just too painful to walk alone. I am grateful for you and for your friend, that your friendship has the strength to endure.
    God has used many friends in my life…some of them who are holding me up through the difficulty of losing two friends who I only thought would endure the test of time. He is amazing in how He knows just what we need at just the right time…and He is sweet enough to provide friends who are there with us no matter what, and who want US there no matter what. THAT, my friend, is a genuine friend.
    Blessings to you, your children as they grow in their friendships, and as you honor our Lord in yours!
    Hugs and thanks for the warm heart this a.m.!

  5. says

    What a precious post! True friendship is a rare and beautiful gift. So many people ebb and flow through our lives. What a blessing you are to be there for your friend. I am praying for her…my father passed away last year after an unexpected 3rd heart attack…he lingered for 11 long days. I can relate to her struggle watching your father suffer and finally pass into eternity. I rejoice he is healthy and whole in God’s presence, but I miss him. I will continue to pray for your friend as she walks this grief journey. In Jesus…

  6. says

    I have been stopping by for about one week now. Thank you for holding back the curtains just enough for me to take a peak at you. And to see Him in you.

    How can you catch so easily the deep-rooted joy of the kids and the tired soul of your friend? Oh, the image you paint is that of a woman of God, standing with her arms wide open.

    Thank you.

  7. says

    I am speechless, Laura. Oh my. I’ve been away from reading blogs and to come back and yours be one of the firsts. Wow. I was enthrawed by your description as you eased onto the singing…then as you shared about your friend. I wondered, whose couch would I be falling asleep upon after such grief. I can’t say…I don’t know. I’ve never experienced such friendship to rest on another’s couch. Wow. What beauty. How precious that is. It has implanted onto my mind forever. I desire that kind of friendship. I think I’ve found it in blogland yet it will be very hard to fall asleep on another’s couch through the web.

    Me and three other friends from my small group will begin to meet monthly. I’m hoping over time that through one of those, I would become closer to having a “fall-asleep-on-your-couch” kind of friendship.

    I’m not sure why I’ve yet to be blessed with such but look forward to God blessing me with such.
    Love ya,
    Paula

  8. says

    Laura,
    what a beautiful post. What a blessing you must be to her at this time. Oh the comfort of being able to just “be” with friends. No need for words, that she could just sleep on your couch knowing the kids were taken care of. I have had a precious few who God has brought alongside recently as I have walked a very lonely path. They just loved me and continue to do so.
    I will say a prayer for your friend this evening.

    God Bless,
    Tina

  9. says

    Tears spill over with agreement and gratitude, “Where would I be without my friends?” What a gift your grieving friend has – YOU. I know she has found peace and comfort in your heart, arms, home. May our Father return a meansure of that to you, dear friend.

  10. says

    Friendship is most definately a blessing to have. I have some friends who are closer than relatives.

    “Lord, bless these friendships that are mentioned here. Bless these ladies, these children. Help heal the hearts that are broken. AMEN”

  11. says

    Last sneaky stop on the way out the door, already late. And then this.
    Swept in the words , carried on my day…
    thank you

  12. says

    friendships are gifts from God – yet they require time and effort – i fall so short in that regard – it is good for you to be there for her and them – they will learn from your example and you can learn from theirs

  13. says

    I thought of these two verses:
    “A friend loves at all times” (Prov. 17:17) and
    “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (or sister)” (Prov. 18:24). You were such a friend to this lady who needed you.

    I liked your opening comment on my blog today!

  14. says

    This post made me go back through my life and consider the times I needed someone to lean on.

    We quickly forget the warmth of those walking alongside us in difficult moments.

    Sometimes we are so focused on the pain that we are not aware of our surroundings. Encircling us are family and friends in ways small and great. Through a prayer, a word of encouragement or a gentle touch.

    Seeing this post will make me cherish the help I receive from those close, during times of crisis.

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