All I can do…
One of the gifts that I know I have is to listen; to listen with my ears and my heart. An hour ago I sat with a young lady who made my heart bleed yet feel strong because of her courage. My cousin died just over a year ago, leaving a young widow, barely 25 years old. He was the sole bread winner, of his young family; he left a lovely daughter too. Some months following his sudden death following a road accident, I listened as his widow told us (with my siblings) how the girl had been wondering “how will daddy find us now that we have moved from our house?” The 5 yr old girl could not comprehend the permanency of death. She missed her dad terribly, but unlike the mother whose pain was due to the realisation of the permanency of her husband’s departure, she thought daddy would come back, one time. I failed to comprehend how she was holding herself together for herself, and her daughter. As I sat down with this young woman, sharing her challenges, and how we could assist each other, I could not help but wonder how often she has sat alone at night, cried her heart out and wondered if anyone was listening, if anyone care, and if God cared. At one time we shared quiet moments, not uncomfortable moments, just quiet peace, and I felt that our hearts were communicating. She was not in a hurry to leave, neither was I in a hurry to let her go, if I were not in a hotel as during a training conference, I would have invited her to spend the night. We finally bade farewell, and I told her that I will always be willing to listen, if it’s the only thing I can do. She had indicated having postponed calling me for more than two months wondering if she would be disturbing me. I had sent her a text when I learnt she as in Garrissa where I had gone for a training and she had called back immediately asking to see me.
Why did I make the promise? I don’t know, but I told her that she should never sleep hungry, if I was alive, and a telephone call away. As I made my way back to the hotel room, I had only one prayer, “God I have made a promise, and I plan to keep it, how it’s up to you”.
I later chatted with a friend whose sister passed away after a short illness and the anniversary is fast approaching. I could identify with the pain of losing someone so dear, and each day the reality striking that she is never coming back. The pain of parting, when you wish you can move heaven and earth not to. Sometimes losing loved one, is too painful to bear. I still recall the pain I felt over 15 years ago, December 21st, 1994, when I lost my dear sister. I still remember the person who told me “don’t feel bad” and it took a long, long time to forgive them. I still recall the friends and family members that were just there for us, supporting us in this and other hard times, and it is not because of any material things that they gave. In fact, I have no recollections of any materials given in these difficult moments, but of the people who carried us in their hearts, and made us realise this. Friends who have been there to comfort, to listen, and make me realise that life will be ok. Sometimes solutions to issues, just don’t, but human beings have a way of carrying each other in our hearts in a way that makes it feel right, lighter, bearable. When I encounter people in difficult situations I feel like I want to carry them out of their pain, problems, helplessness…then I remind myself that am playing God, since I cant do that.
Some times all I can is carry them in my heart.
Sometimes all friends can do is to carry each other in our hearts. I may not recall the many times that friends (as family and non family) have helped me survive otherwise impossible situations, but I can remember the feeling that has come from these experiences and the strength and calmness from this. The friendships in family and outside the family are an amazing avenue for living life to the full. How lovely it is to have friends!
It reminds me of words of the song by Michael Smith, Friends are friends forever.
Packing up the dreams God planted, In the fertile soil of you
Cant believe the hopes he’s granted, Means a chapter in your life
But we will keep you close, as always
It wont even seem you’ve gone
Coz our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love, that keep us strong
And friends are friends forever, if the lord’s the Lord of them,
And a friend will not say never, coz a welcome will not end, though it hard to let you go, in the Fathers hands we know, that a lifetime is not too long, to live as friends
With the faith and love, God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
And we will pray that the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength now you show