I have a list about a mile long of posts to write. It seems with every week the list only gets longer. Since I took a nap today, still feel a tad puny and sleep seems like a far off notion, I thought it might be a good time to mark one of my writing to-do's off my list. Aiding me tonight is a multi-hour block of CSI:NY on TBS, the September issue of InStyle, a load of laundry in the dryer and my ever faithful sidekick, Jack Davis. Jack is currently laying beside me on my bed, snoring. The older he gets, more of his ways become like that of an old man. I must say he is a joyful, loyal, and adorable partner in crime. He seems to know when I don't feel well and he also knows that when I am typing he is going to get very little attention. I suppose making it a good nap time for him. Anyway, while all this is going on around me and serving as comfort, healing and guilty pleasure I want to share a challenge/encouragement with you that's been swirling around my mind for a few weeks.
It isn't unusual for my friends to send me a text asking for prayer for themselves as well as for those around them. It also isn't unusual for me to do the same. It is an amazing feeling and surety to know that when you ask someone to pray, they will. I have been blessed with such amazing friends in each stage of my life journey. With most we do a pretty good job keeping up with one another's lives, even though we are miles and sometimes countries apart. These text prayer requests are one of the ways we stay up to date on, as well as remain active in, one another lives. So, several weeks ago, when I received a request from a friend for another friend, it wasn't at all out of the normal. However, the burden the Lord placed on me for this second friend kind of was. This friend of a friend lost their home and most all of their belongings to a house fire. A married couple with two little's were robbed of all their comfort in an instant. Someone I don't believe I have ever met in person, but have seen in many pictures and heard a lot of stories about was suddenly being very much pressed on my heart.
My friend had told me the story while getting my ok for her to pass along something I'd given to her, to her friend who was now in need of many things. I of course said YES!! Once we finished our text conversation on the subject I couldn't seem to get the ideas out of my mind of what it must feel like to have to start completely over. I kept thinking what did her two little's think about all of it? What were they thinking about the lost belongings and home? In all my questioning I couldn't shake the idea that I was suppose to do some little something to help out, even though I didn't know them. The phrase, "a friend of a friend, is a friend" kept coming to mind. As I mentioned before I've been very lucky with friendships in my life. Some of those friendships have come from meeting someone through someone, being in a wedding with someone, traveling w a mix match group, or even just sharing a love for something like a band or tv show, etc. I can think of two people off the top of my head that I met through a mutual friends wedding, that even 5 - 10 years later I still communicate with fairly regularly. You never know where you're gonna make a friend and you never know when a friends gonna need you.
I went over this thought of "a friend of a friend, is a friend", and thought back over my friends and how we've met, how we keep up, how we've been there for each other. How a friend from my high school days and a friend from my college days were introduced with me as a common thread, but now have their own independent relationship. How my friends on social media sometimes become friends with one another via social media. All of this was whirling about as I tried to sort out what the Lord was wanting me to do for this friend of a friend. I eventually came to the idea of a care package with a few fun things, a few essentials and maybe a few needed things in it for this family that are having to restock their lives. A couple of Barbie toothbrushes, some cosmetics, coupons, and few other things filled the box along with some verses and a note from me and Jack. Immediately after sending the package off I feared they would think it was odd that a perfect stranger was sending them supplies. I worried they might be offended that our mutual friend had shared the loss with me. I had concern that they may be offended by the idea of "charity" and not understand that it wasn't that at all, but it was just me following the Lords leading in my own life. After preparing and sending off the package of supplies I text our mutual friend with all my fears and concerns, hoping that she could mediate any confusion or upset if needed.
A week later I got some pics from my friend that she'd received of her friends kids going through the care package. I also received a thank you note from the friend of a friend. As I looked at the pics of the little's pulling out treats from the box my hope was that even at this early age and even with this large of a loss, they might be reassured that God always provides and sometimes in the most unexpected ways. My heart was at rest and I knew I'd done what I was suppose to and that it was received as it was intended. Then this week I got another thank you note with a wonderfully generous gift card surprise in it from my friend of a friend. I was truly shocked. When I saw the return address on the envelope I had assumed it was one of my cousins sending a card for my grandparents anniversary. It came on a day when I had not slept not one moment the night before. I was frustrated, tired, in pain, and just having a horrible case of the Monday's. It was perfectly timed encouragement. I also received a anniversary card from my grandparents from one of my college friends. It totally surprised and tickled my grandparents to get a card from one of my college friends. It was a good mail day.
It all leads me back to the idea of gratefulness. I am grateful for those who follow His leading when He urges them toward an act of kindness, generosity, words of encouragement and truth. I am grateful to have a spirit of my own that can be sensitive to His leadings for me to give, love, accept, counsel, or whatever whenever He compels. I am grateful that He see's and plans for our "bad" days long before they happen. I'm grateful for friends who trust my judgment and choice of friends that they would want to be friends with them too. I am grateful that my friends, have good friends (not talking about myself, lol!).
I see people who haven't allowed true friendships into their lives for one reason or another and my heart breaks for them. I see people use social media as an outlet to share every single thought, feeling and whatever at every single moment of the day because they don't have people they can share with in real life. I see people strive to thrive on virtual relationships they've created online. I see people's hesitancy towards me because they don't believe I am genuine. They don't believe anyone can be genuine. I've been debating solutions, outreach, ways to flip that mind set of hesitancy, of distrust, of what it is to be a "real" friend. All I keep coming back to, all that I can think of, is to continue being as genuine and honest as I can with my life and relationships, continue in my pursuit of His plans for my life, His leadings, to always be grateful for the friends I have. I know that what I have been given is special and I cherish each and every friend I have and what they bring to my life. And I suppose the best thing to do, to help flip the script, to share the love, is to simply continue being, a friend of a friend.