Friends care enough to say something

“Joan! Black sneakers and black sock with a red and white pinafore and red blouse!” I looked at my feet. They were warm. My sneakers matched my socks. The blouse matched the pinafore. I looked at my friend quizzically, “Is something wrong?”
She laughed, “That’s a science major for you.”
I cut the black sneakers and black socks from the red and white outfit. By scientific observation of the shock on her face, I figure out it was the wrong kind of match for this culture.
I suppose I could have been insulted, but I like friends who love me with all my faults and gently alert me to other choices. And – I’ll admit it. I cherish those who joined me in celebrating new adventures. I still have the card and note a friend in Camden wrote, applauding my efforts, shortly after I began writing this column.
I especially remember the woman who gave me permission to not assume I had to do everything I was asked to do. I had been asked to join a woman’s quartet. At home, sitting at the piano, I practiced my part easily. When I wet to rehearsal though, I couldn’t hear what I was singing in the swirl of voices harmonizing around me.
After we sang the first time in church, a friend stopped me afterwards, “You did not look very comfortable up there.”
She paused, studied my face. “Some people do not sing as well in groups. Do you think that might be true for you?” she hesitated, “we can find someone else to sing.”
I heaved a sigh of relief. “Really? Thanks.”
When I mentioned our conversation later, she was embarrassed to have said anything. Her honest, loving feedback helped me to first ask myself, “do I really want to do what I am being asked to do?”
I knew I wanted to say yes when I was invited to be a weekly prayer partner. In fact I was thrilled. “Sure I would be glad to do that. I’ve always wanted a prayer partner, but I’ve never done anything about it.”
My quick answer astonished the asker, “Everyone else I’ve ever asked to be my prayer partner has asked for time to think about it before making the commitment.”
I had done my thinking, years ago.
We met weekly for an hour or two of sharing, caring and praying. We have grown to know each other. Such as the time a couple of years ago when my family hit an extremely rough time. During the initial stages of our crisis, I was not able to contact my prayer partner. The shocking events and necessity propelled us to act immediately. Later, after the shock and haste were over, we would figure what had hit us.
When we finally got together she asked, “What has been happening with you? These past few days I have been really burdened to pray for you.”
I was astonished and touched at her perception and concern. “We needed those prayers,” I said and proceeded to catch her up with what had been happening. As Christmas nears, I am counting among my gifts, friends who give me their time to show they care.

About jottingjoan

retired former newspaper writer. Many children and grandchildren. One husband.
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