In July of 1997, Kirby and I packed up the kids and moved to Northern Virginia. I come from a large family that were all in the Des Moines area, so it wasn’t a very popular decision with my parents. But Kirby had a great job offer, so off we went.
We found a church right away and got involved. We met people through church and had great neighbors. I was very comfortable with our life. The only thing that I felt was missing was anyone I considered a “good friend”. I had a lot of acquaintances, but I didn’t feel like I had friends that I could just call and meet for coffee. Then on July 9th, 1999 the unthinkable happened. That was the day that we discovered Ryan had cancer. Thankfully that was also the day God showed me how many friends I had.
The outpouring of love was unbelievable. I was amazed at how everyone showed their support. I opened the door one evening to find a neighbor crying, with his arms full of groceries. We got meals for weeks. There were anonymous gifts left on the door step. And I had friends calling me to go out for coffee. Friends were everywhere, I just hadn’t seen them.
We have since moved to Wisconsin and built a wonderful life here. We lost Ryan in 2009, but during the entire journey we had friends to help us, support us and sometimes even carry us. I have so many in my life that I now know are my friends. One woman that I barely knew that July day is now one of my dearest friends because of the love she showed me. Everyday I thank God for each and everyone of you who will forever be my friend.
Today, I hope you think of your friends. I hope that you have a chance to thank them for all they do and that they know you are there for them too.
Thank you for making friendship a part of our life. Thank you for teaching us how to develop and keep important relationships in our life. Help us to remember to appreciate those around us and to be the kind of friend for others that we would like others to be for us. And in this day of social media, cell phones and text messaging, help us to remember how important real “face-time” is.
In the name of your Son, who taught how to sacrifice for others,