This week I welcome my dear friend Susan McGuire to the Mountain so that she can share her experience with Christ-Centered friends. Susan was the first person to invite us to Mass when we moved to Virginia. We recently visited and she shared the importance of the little acts of kindness that people do that end up meaning more than we ever know. Enjoy!
The Beautiful Gift of Friendship
I have a true appreciation for the amazing friends God has placed in my life. I feel gratitude for all of the acts of kindness that have blessed me over the years. When my dear friend Katie approached me about sharing my story of Christ-centered friendships, I started reflecting on the many amazing people that I have shared so much with over the years. I started thinking about how each individual relationship has nourished my soul in some way.
At 50 years of age, I have experienced many joys in my life. I have also experienced some curves in my path of life that brought many of my wonderful friendships into full focus. At age 40 I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of stage 3 invasive breast cancer. In one day, my world completely changed. With 4 young children at home, I had to suddenly rely on a full force of MANY to help me along the way. With chemo, radiation and a multitude of surgeries to face, I could no longer be the independent person I prided myself on being. I would lie in my bathtub at night and look at the sign above my door that said… “Let go and let God…...” and that is exactly how I had to start living my life.
No Act of Kindness is Ever Too Small.
During my journey, I received over 650 cards and messages offering words of encouragement, laughter, and inspiration and most importantly, hope. I still to this day have all of my cards in a huge box under the side of the bed that I sleep on each night. These cards still give me comfort and peace.
I was given an entire room of balloons with several messages attached to each balloon on the day of my first chemo treatment. I had a friend collect restaurant gift cards and menus to give to my husband so he did not have to worry about a meal plan for our family each night after work. I had friends transporting my kids to activities and loving them when I was sick. I had friends show up to my chemo and radiation appointments with treats and Slurpees.
I had friends filling my fridge each week to make sure there was food to pack lunches. I had friends that would scoop me up for a little fresh air and a pedicure. Friends would cry with me and hold my hand when my fears kicked in. I had friends walking 60 miles and raising money for cancer. The many stories of selfless kindness could fill a novel.
The one profound message that everyone kept saying to me was, “I haven’t done enough!” Each and every single gesture was important and mattered!
A dear friend started a prayer chain on my chemo days that she would tape to my front door listing all the people that were praying for me in 15 minute intervals throughout the day. The prayer chain literally took on a life of its own as people everywhere were taking time to pray for me. By the end of my last chemo I was holding pages of names of generous and loving people that were taking time to pray.
I was touched by a father of 5 who spent his 15 minutes kneeling by a fence in the middle of a baseball game because he had promised to pray. There was the busy mom or dad who set their alarm 15 minutes early or went to bed a little later just to fit it in. They were all sharing a gift with me.
Each and every one of those random acts of kindness mattered to me; a smile, a laugh, a prayer - each of those simple things have tremendous value. Every kind gesture, no matter how big or small, gave me hope and comfort, and was cherished. May each of you remember how precious and valued the gift of friendship truly is!
This poem was written out of a celebration of friendship! You can download it to share with your friends by clicking on the link.