A little help from my friends

Most of my writing over the last 6 weeks has been handwritten, half of which is directly related to loving others and the other half has to do with loving myself. What is amazing to me is that in order to live out the second greatest commandment, being called to love others. I need to ask how am I to love them? The text says, “As yourself,” meaning in the same manner that I love myself.
I’ve already written about loving one’s self in a previous post but what about the dark times? Where you don’t even feel able to love yourself? Well, I believe that God who’s very nature is loving, merciful, and compassionate gave me 3 friends very unlike Job’s. Jamie, Becky and Nancy loved me when I felt unlovable, nurtured me with truth spoken in love, cried with me, prayed with me, and touched my life in a way that I have a hard time expressing here because even now it fills me with such overwhelming gratitude. I’ve attempted several times over the last 3 weeks to write about these dearest of friends. They don’t know one another. At the time, I needed to be disarmed by THREE dear friends, perhaps we could say that I needed to be handled. Lovingly of course. My friends could not and would not do this type of disarming in their own strength, each is aware of their own weaknesses but have experienced the power of God in their own lives and made themselves available to Him to be His Love Bearers. Rarely did we speak without inviting God into the conversation through prayer and their many, many prayers for me and with me were both life-giving and life-sustaining.
It was like I was on spiritual/relational bed rest. Nancy is the only one I saw face to face. With Becky and Jamie, we mostly communicated via text and phone. I had lots of space which could have turned into a type of isolation with the power to kill me if it were not for these friendships. Instead of going into the nitty-gritty of how each one helped me, I just want to talk about the Love that penetrated my darkness. During that time I did not realize how dark it really was, I just could not be in the light. About 9 months or so ago, I finally stepped back into the light. It took getting use to again and it felt like a long time for my eyes to adjust. There was still that hesitancy to avoid interaction with people but I came to realize that to really live is to love and to be loved. My friends lavished me with great Love when I was not able to love. Recently I was listening to a broadcast of “On Being” and the guest said, “Hearing is touching from afar.” Immediately, I said out loud “Yes, just like Jamie and Becky have done time and time again.” And when I say these precious sisters carried me through this time for months, literally on a daily basis, I communicated with one of them everyday. They were the shining lights in my darkness. At times I thought I don’t want to hear from them, and I would go into these ridiculous rants at God. It must have been scary for my friends to watch me and hang in there with me. OH, Thank You LORD for Becky, Jamie and Nancy. Each of them taught me what it means to carry another’s burden in a different way. It was a interesting picture of community and to get perspective from 3 very different dear sisters in Christ who showed me that my messy was not so dirty that the LORD couldn’t wash me. Their sacrificial love for me is a gift that I never could have earned nor would they want me to attempt to repay. My gratitude is more than enough and for me to be there for them.
As for the Beatles song, being on the Pilgrim path, I do more than get by with a little help from my friends. I rise up and walk again out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.

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Published by: Catherine Mullaney

First and foremost, I am a child of the Living God who is found as One God in Three persons, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. I have been married to the same man for over 25 years, together we have three adult children. I love my family and God’s and I know that both are trying to love me. Over my lifetime, I hope that I have also been a good friend, faithful citizen of the Kingdom, thoughtful, kind, open, and that I will continue to do so by God’s grace. If you were to look at my weekly calendar, you might describe my life as diverse so no one can stick me in the Christian box or the recovery box or any box for that matter. People don’t belong in boxes anyway. I am grateful to be human. I enjoy living in New England. I love a great game of golf, catching a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, a good book, to write with pen and paper, fruitful conversations, to sing and dance, to walk. One of my signatures in this life is my laugh and I love to “sign.”

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