Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
The friendship connections made, which are linked to the bond of sorrows and sufferings shared, are strong ones. A beautiful example of this happened in my life when I was a Bible Study Fellowship group leader some years ago. On day one in September, the group members share a little bit about themselves to help with the “making new friends” process that happens there in the formation of the group that will spend 8 months studying together.
One year, seated in my group's circle were two women who had both lost a child. One child was lost almost two decades ago, and the other only two years previously. Both of these beautiful women, Lois and Paula, lost 25-year-old sons, each with a newborn daughter. And both deaths were work-related: Lois’ son was a fallen police officer, shot and killed in the line of duty while attempting to arrest three suspects who had just robbed a liquor store. Paula’s son suffered a fall while working, which took his life.
Most of us in the circle were teary-eyed as Lois and Paula shared their stories with our group, but there was a bond between the two of them that tied their souls together. Those tragic losses shared could never be understood completely by someone who hadn’t suffered the same thing. Their age span is like that of a mother and daughter – and like the span of years between their losses.
What a blessing it was to see how God brought them together. We witnessed the help and comfort present in their relationship that spilled over into our group and blessed us all! I cherish both of them still, and it is always a delight when I get to spend some time with each of them. Their lives and faith greatly encourage me.
I ran into Lois a year ago, last October, at our local post office. We shared a hug and a quick update outside of the lobby. We discovered that we were each preparing to leave for an out-of-state getaway all alone to see friends that weekend. There was a little tug at my heart to wait for her and pray with her. We ended up jumping into her car right there in the parking lot and having a little prayer meeting together. I cherished every minute of it. She came to mind often as I was on my journey, and I felt her prayers too.
Less than three months later, I was waiting to give her a hug in a receiving line at the funeral of her beloved husband of over 50 years. The stories shared at his funeral left most of those in attendance amazed by how one guy could love so many, so well. His was a life lived for God, leaving a beautiful legacy of faith that lives on in his absence from this world.
His mother, who has crossed the century mark, was seated in the front row with some of the most beautiful tear-filled eyes that I have ever seen. Even though he made it to 80, she was still burying her baby boy.
Then this October, I ran into Paula at the theater. Her movie date for the night wasn’t able to make it, so she was there alone. My husband had purchased our tickets online and just happened to select seats right by her in an almost empty theater that night. It was a delightful opportunity to catch up with her before and after the movie.
Friends make life sweet.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11