They roll in, these dear ones in a white van my friend calls the marshrutka, arms laden with gifts and Christmas cheer. These “Ruth and Naomi” friends who have journeyed deep waters with us, know our story well with it’s failures and successes, still love us anyways. We share food and culture, gifts and games and history made with friends becomes sacred and holy a gift in and of itself. And we laugh. Those deep belly roll on the floor guffaws that spell relief, hope. We chuckle at stories, mistakes, things we said…or didn’t say; giggle over breakfast brunch, late afternoon lunches during too late evenings and somehow in the candlelight and twinkling tree’s gleam I feel the grey from the year, the grief spilling, melt like ice thawing on a warm spring day. Strange how one can forget what it feels to delight in the everyday, burdens choking joy blooming underneath. The gift is given, one not expected, one not even dreamed of and it is just right, for it is medicine for the heart. And I pray that I will be the gift in return, the friend who brings cheer, who knows the time to cry and the time to laugh and embraces the journey to the finish. Who goes the distance, is willing to suffer alongside no matter how long, to wait for test results and for hearts to change and for the old to be made into the new. Who expects less and prays for more, who longs to serve rather than be served and who understands that giving is better than receiving.
I flip the calendar to the new year. Medical appointments looming, deadlines lurking and my heart skips a beat for joy has won in the end, and this weary woman feels strength returning to the soul.
~A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22~