I still think of her throughout my day, relishing the memories we made through our common bonds as well as adversity. That’s the value of a friendship.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity”—Proverbs 17:17 (ESV).
We bonded over our love of animals, landscaping our yards and fried chicken livers. But, our friendship grew through adversity.
My friend, Sonya, 12 years my senior, moved into my neighborhood in 2010. After leaving Georgia, she purchased the house next door to me. I welcomed this tiny woman as my neighbor, but as so many of us are apt to do, I judged her first by her appearance.
In her late 60s at the time, Sonya dressed more like a teeny bopper, even when doing yard work. However, as I grew to know this precious woman, my spirit couldn’t help but connect through our mutual love of Jesus.
We became fast friends as we discussed our faith, the best flowers and shrubs for our yards, and eating at a restaurant known for its comfort food. For us, it was fried chicken livers. None of our other friends or family members shared our passion for what we considered a Southern treat.
Subscribing to the same daily newspaper, we raced to surprise the other by placing the paper on the other’s doorstep. Occasionally, we’d meet on the sidewalk, usually in our nighttime attire, where we’d exchange laughter and our daily plans.
Born for Adversity
Adversity, however, cemented our friendship. When my 14-year-old dog became ill one evening, it required a 40-mile trip to an emergency vet clinic. Calling Sonya, I asked her to go with me. She didn’t hesitate.
Even though she was already in bed, my friend threw on her clothes, donned her wig and skipped her makeup to accompany me. For a woman who never went without make-up in public, Sonya exhibited true loyalty and friendship.
Standing by my side, Sonya offered comfort as we watched the vet administer euthanasia medication to my precious pet. She held me as I sobbed. Over the next few days, she listened as I shared stories of the dog I’d raised from eight-weeks old, a stray rescued by my son.
Less than a year later, adversity hit again. This time it was a tornado. Hearing the sirens blaring, I phoned Sonya to warn her. Because she removed her hearing aids in the evening, I knew she probably couldn’t hear the warning. Phoning, I warned her to seek cover.
After the tornado blew through, we, along with the rest of the neighborhood, met in the street to discuss the damage, which was minimal. In the days afterward, Sonya and I compared notes on repair services for our roofs, garage doors and fences.
A Friend Loves at all Times
When God called me to move to a new community, Sonya and I stayed in touch. I missed her friendship but we’d still meet over fried chicken livers when I was in town to visit.
When I learned several months ago she’d been diagnosed with terminal cancer, I was heartbroken for my spunky “Georgia peach,”—my nickname for her. Because we were almost 100 miles apart, I wasn’t there for her as I wished I could be.
To encourage her, I sent a morning scripture and prayer via text message each morning. Once a week, I mailed a card to let her know I was praying for a miracle healing.
On Tuesday, February 26, Sonya received her healing miracle. She’s now in the arms of the best friend any of us could ever have—Jesus. I still think of her throughout my day, relishing the memories we made through our common bonds as well as adversity. That’s the value of a friendship.
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After a 30-year teaching career, Carol Round found redirection as a Christian columnist, author and inspirational speaker. She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon.com. See her website at www.carolaround.com for more information.