This was posted on July 22, 2012
“Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17
“And friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them … That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends” © Michael W. Smith
        I hope that everyone has been blessed with that one special person with whom you’ve been friends your entire life. Obviously, I hope you have many friends. But there’s something so special about that lifelong friend.
        My daughter has one. They’ve been friends since they met in kindergarten. They’ve gone through so much together and been there for each other during the good and bad times. They are stronger women because of their friendship.
        I have a lifelong friend. Our parents were best friends when we were very young so it was natural that we played together. I like to think that we would have been BFF anyway. There came a time as young adults that we weren’t in touch as often. I got married, moved out of town, had children, and started a career, of sorts. When I would come home for a visit, I would call Debbie and we’d catch up over the phone, then say good-bye until the next time I’d visit home. Six years ago my husband and I moved back to my hometown. Although Debbie and I don’t see each other every week, we do get together more often than when I lived in another city. It’s funny—when we get together, whether we’ve been apart a year or just a few days—it’s as if we’ve never been apart. We talk, we giggle, we share. We’ve cried together and laughed together until we’ve cried.
        Almost thirty-five years ago, Debbie married a great guy named Charlie. They became so devoted to each other, in conversations if you mentioned one of them, you mentioned them both. It wasn’t just “Debbie” it was “Debbie and Charlie.”
        About twenty years ago, give or take a few years, Charlie became sick. After all the test results were back, we learned that Charlie’s kidneys were failing. He was put on dialysis for quite some time until a donor kidney could be found. During that entire time—dialysis, transplant, recovery—Debbie was right there with him. Devotedly watching over him.
        Over a month ago–June 20 to be exact–Charlie got sick, suddenly and unexpectedly. Within a matter of just a few hours he was admitted to the ICU in our local hospital where he remains today. Debbie has been right there with him. Devotedly watching over him. She would have it no other way. This is her role—her life—to be beside Charlie. What she doesn’t realize is the doctors and nurses, other patients and their families, and yes, friends of 50+ years, have seen her devotion and have been moved and even humbled. The scene of her talking to Charlie, wiping his eyes, moistening his lips as he lies in a medically-induced sedated state, is forever burned into our memories. And  without ever verbally addressing the issue, she has reminded us that no one nor anything is as important as our family.
        So before you go to sleep tonight, hug your kids and your spouse and tell them how important they are to you and how much you love them. And when you get up tomorrow morning, tell them again. And tell them tomorrow night and the next morning and that night, and the morning after … you get the point. And devotion grows.
 P.S.   Charlie desperately needs our prayers. As one of his doctors put it, he is “critically, critically ill. He has many health issues working against him.” I know Debbie and Charlie will be most appreciative for your prayers. We serve a mighty God who is our Healer and He holds Charlie in his hands. 

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