Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sad Day

When I was in 8th grade. I had a beloved English teacher named Mrs. Long. She wasn't beautiful, or young, or a stylish dresser. She didn't wear fancy jewelry, or have gorgeous hair. She was a lovely woman, though. Simple, kind, and just loved her students.

None of us even knew she was sick. We came back from Christmas break, and while in another class, our teacher told us that Mrs. Long had died. She had been sick, but had not told her students.

One of the girls in our class burst into tears. Our teacher asked her what was wrong. We all were upset about Mrs. Long dying, but she was sobbing uncontrollably. The teacher asked her why she was so upset.

The girl said that during Christmas break, she had seen Mrs. Long at the mall. She was carrying a lot of packages, and our friend said that she knew she should have gone over and helped her carry her load, but she was with a group of friends, and didn't want to stop what she was doing. She assured herself that as soon as she got back from Christmas break, she would do something nice for Mrs. Long.

Today I am feeling sad, in a way I almost cannot articulate what I wish I could express. My friend died yesterday morning, after a long battle with cancer. She leaves a husband, two sons and a daughter.

I saw her frequently, as I was her children's Violin Teacher for several years. Each week she would come, and I'd enjoy talking to her. Stay-at-home moms sometimes crave that adult interaction, and we would visit and talk about projects and crafts. We both enjoyed scrapbooking and went to some workshops a few times to construct pages for our photographs. We enjoyed having something in common, and would talk about our hobby, our children, and our families.

My friend was very talkative, as I am as well. I must admit there were a few times that I was anxious to get my jobs done, and wished she wasn't so talkative. I wanted to get on to my tasks, and secretly wished she wouldn't take up so much of my time. I never came out and said that I wanted her to go, but in my thoughts, I selfishly wished that I could make an excuse to get on with my activities.

After she got sick, I thought back to those moments. I believe that the Lord brought her to my mind, and reminded me of my wishes. How my heart would ache, as I thought of her struggling with cancer. Her treatments were difficult. When I would see her, her hands were inflamed, the skin was peeling and cracked. She would put lotion and cream on them to relieve the discomfort.

I often wished there was something I could "do" for her. I yearned to help her somehow. Yet, my thoughts reminded me of times when I didn't want to be so hospitable. I can't tell you of how much guilt I have had over this. Oh, how I wish I had a few more moments with her. Why was I in such a rush? Why was I so concerned with my own events and activities? What I wouldn't give for more time with her.

Friends, please learn from my mistake. Take those moments when they are handed to you. Sit down and drink a cup of tea with your friend. Listen to those phone calls. Carry the packages for a friend. The rush of life will always be there. Our friends may not.

Proverbs 27:1 "Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."

Proverbs 17:17 "A friend loveth at all times"

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