It starts in the evening, the darkening of the sky, winds starting to get cold enough to slap your face; you try to remember what summer felt like. It all goes by so quickly that we are all taken by surprise. A friend looks weak and frail and even though you see her from a distance, you gasp inwardly and feel your stomach plummeting right down to your now-numb toes. You pray, you hope, you wish on the first star that sparkles brightly in the too-black sky.
This is a story about a real woman, a beautiful woman with three lovely children and a wonderful husband. A woman who is nice to everybody she meets, and when out of interest you ask her how she is, she replies, always with a smile and the word “fine.” She doesn’t ask for help unless she really has to, she’s proud and positive and a very loving woman. This person has been sick in the past and we pray that she is not sick again but we fear that she might be.
Not too many people know details, people, friends, well-wishers talk and NOT out of malice or gossip, but only out of love and concern. There is a whole neighborhood where she lives that is on the watch for her, keeps an eye on her, follows her slow, measured walk. People are always friendly to her incredible children because they are great kids; They love their mom with all their heart. Everyone loves her, she is a friend waiting to meet you. She makes a mark on your life so that you feel blessed to know her, to see her lightening-quick spirit, the stubborn warrior, the beautiful woman she is, inside and out.
In the middle of the night when things feel grossly exaggerated, and emotions run high, we look for dawn, for the first shimmer of hope, having made it through the night. Night time is for monsters, and anxiety, it’s where your dreams become nightmares and you are waiting for the sunrise to hurry. It’s only when dawn arrives that things feel more positive and hopeful.
It is staying up and saying “I will fight this” with the most determined, strong voice. Sunrise, sunlight, peacefulness brings hope. We pray, we weep, we think, we beg. Life is so unfair sometimes and this person does not deserve this; she deserves hope and treatment and the knowledge that good friends, acquaintances, people in the community love her dearly. She should know that she leaves an indelible mark on every person she meets and if you asked her if she knew this she would laugh heartily and deny it. We know the truth though, we all do.
We pray, we love, we ask God for blessings for everyone’s friend. Let the dawn come quickly and erase the troubled nights, replacing them with hope and a circle of love from far away and near-by. We pray for strength, courage and healing. We pray individually in a thousand different ways, we pray in groups, in hushed whispers; we all pray together, for one woman, for one family to be blessed with hope and strength and with great, everlasting love.