Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Price of Friendship

Like many mothers and daughters, I have a complicated relationship with my mother. We definitely don't always see eye to eye and often have differences in opinion. She is my mother and I try to always respect that realizing that she is getting older and getting even more set in her ways. I honestly didn't think my mother had anymore lessons to teach me........but I was wrong.

Yesterday, my mother buried one of her dearest friends. She had been friends with her since I was in 4-H thirty years ago. They didn't always talk frequently especially after I grew up. Sometimes, they didn't communicate for months at a time. Still, when they did get together, they fell into a fluent pattern like no time had passed at all.

A year ago, a mutual friend of theirs called my mother. She basically asked her if she knew their friend was dying. My mother, of course didn't fact, she was rather speechless. What defined my mother as a friend was what she did for the following year...............

My mother rallied around her friend. They would make trips to chemotherapy followed by lunch and Walmart. This was the one time my mom's friend could get out of the house, and she so looked forward to my mother's visits. My mom even taught her how to drive the motorized carts at Walmart. This gave her very independent friend freedom. Mom even once complained that sometimes she couldn't find her in the Walmart because she got moving very fast on that cart!

Cancer eventually robs it's victim of all energy, independence, and physical strength. The last few months were true for my mom's friend. This is usually the time when friends stop coming by and paying visits. It's the lonely part of cancer.

Mom didn't stop visiting. She even took on some care giving for her friend. She would help her eat, shower, and get to bed. All that while, she watched as her friend deteriorated. Mom told me the last time she helped her friend shower, her friend told her she was nothing but a skeleton. Mom doesn't matter. Truly, I don't think it did matter to her.

The last time mom visited her friend she could barley sit up, and had great difficulty speaking. As mom left for our family vacation, she knew the end was near. Her friend passed away the morning we were to return from our vacation.

I learned so much from watching my mother be a friend. Sometimes the price of friendship is very high........but what is the cost by walking away?

Jesus' friends left him during his greatest time of need. I would like to believe that I would have stayed, but would I?

My mother showed me a priceless example of what it is like to walk in Christ's shoes. What a tremendous see, she showed me the awesome gift of compassion, love, and friendship by simply giving of herself. Could we all pay the same price?