Some days we have more questions than we have answers. When that happens, it helps to know some of the most important answers.
It’s been a while since my friend’s last visit. My dog moonlights as a doorbell and lets me know there is a visitor at the front door.
Life happens, doesn’t it? You get a cold, your children get the sniffles, and your husband, well, your husband gets man-flu and returns from the brink of death if you were to believe him. Yet, you get better somehow, and you survive… life.
Today, I am delighted to see her. Our coffee dates often bring hope and welcome laughter. But this morning, as she ambles down my hallway towards my kitchen, I can sense that today is not one of those days.
“Are you all right? “I take two white Royal Albert mugs and position them under the De Longhi Coffee machine spouts. I needn’t switch it on. It will be my third cup of the morning, and it is still warm from the previous pour.
“Heaven knows, Jo, it feels as if I’ve been put through the wringer. Can’t we just up and go squat on a piece of vacant land, far from people and this constant rush? This has not been an easy year for me emotionally.”
Sometimes words fail me, and silence is the only sound I can make. However, I know that this friend of mine has the uncanny ability to see the beauty in the smallest and most ordinary thing. Not only that, she sees the grace in pain as well.
She has taken her familiar place on my black couch, and I hand her, her coffee. My Shih Tzu-Pomeranian-cross walks in from outside, and through the open door, I see a willy wagtail chasing bugs.
She folds her hands prayer-like around her cup, and I see that her nails are showing her anxiety more than usual. She has beautiful hands, but biting her nails is a telltale sign of a mind that often thinks and feels too deeply.
“You know the song of Kenny Rogers, Jo? The one about Superman? “
“I’ll send you the YouTube link, then you can listen to it. It is so touching, and whenever I hear it, I can’t help but cry.
“Any case, in the last ten years of my life, I have changed continents, made friends and lost friendships. I experienced how three mums’ lives were shattered when their children died. God knows it threw my world out of its orbit, and I grieved for days. I still cry when I see a previous neighbour share photos of her angel child. Seventeen Jo, he was seventeen when he died. It’s not fair.
“Friends got divorced. Nice people. God-fearing folk that just decided they did not want to be married anymore. And now their kids have to try and make sense of things that us adults don’t even understand.
“Cancer these days is the thief that comes to steal and plunder. Two friends had to have double mastectomies before cancer could take their lives.
“Kids have more challenges than ever before. In an age of inclusivity, people are more exclusive than ever. God helps you if you are a bit different from the group. We label everything and everyone.
“There is this friend of mine whom I love like a sister, and she is in a battle for survival against drugs and homelessness. At the moment, she is winning this fight, but what about tomorrow? Heaven knows I never want to be where her rock bottom has been. Do you know how it feels to worry about a person that does not want to be helped? You worry with hopelessness, and you struggle to hold on to a belief that God knows what He is doing.”
When she looks at me, she looks older than she really is, and her eyes penetrate my soul.
“I see how mums scrape together every single grain of energy that they can muster every day just to look after their children’s emotional wellbeing. They are stuck on their knees because if they move from that kneeling position, life just pushes them back down.
“Life, Jo sucks some days. How does a person stay motivated? How do some people keep going day after day after day? “
My tongue is heavy, and I can feel the pit of my stomach tense up. If someone like her becomes so desperate, what must I say?
“I don’t know, sweetheart, I don’t know.”
“I know, Jo. I don’t expect you to either. On days like today, when I have more questions than answers, I have this mantra that I tell myself. It seems to help. And sunshine also helps. “
“I tell myself it is not what I believe about God, but what He believes about me. And He tells me, ‘You are perfect, you are enough, and you lack for nothing.” My friend sits back against the cushions of the couch and leans against the orange one.
“I am perfect, I am enough, and I lack for nothing. I keep telling myself that, and I say thank you that not every day is like today.”
**Taken from my yet to be published book, Coffee at Jo’s