Grief
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Friendship: Floating Along

Kate Bowler, a Christian professor who struggled with infertility for years, finally had a baby boy and was then suddenly diagnosed with stage IV cancer. She wrote a book titled “Everything Happens For a Reason – And Other Lies I’ve Loved.”

In her book, she recounted this conversation from when she was very ill and lying in her hospital bed, and it struck a chord with me:

“It’s like we’re all floating on the ocean, holding on to our own inner tubes. We’re all floating around, but people don’t seem to know that we’re all sinking. Some are sinking faster than others, but we’re all sinking!”

I keep having the same unkind thought- I am preparing for death and everyone else is on Instagram. I know that’s not fair -that life is hard for everyone- but I sometimes feel like I’m the only one in the world who is dying.

“We’re all sinking, slowly, but one day, while everyone watches, I will run out of air. I am going to go under.”

[…] People talk about heaven like it’s a hop, skip, and a jump. A veil between heaven and earth will part and I will pass through it.

The promise of heaven to me is this: someday I will get a new set of lungs and I will swim away.

But first I will drown.

Here’s what’s striking to me about Kate’s assessment: each of us is slowly dying, and we’re all just floating alongside each other, not knowing who will go next. There’s not much that’s comforting about that, except that we’re all floating along together….

Here’s what rings true for me: this is how I’ve experienced real friendships being made in my life- when people come to me and acknowledge that we are just floating together on the river of life and there’s nothing any one of us can do to control the currant or the outcome. For better or for worse, we’re sticking together, floating along, holding hands, praying for each other, humbly caring for one another, always being a listening ear, always encouraging in the truth even though the reality may seem grim. Friendship is a safety zone when there is humble acceptance of hard hard realities and a hand to hold when nothing makes sense.

And that’s what this necklace means to me. Given to me by a friend from Bible study. She gets it. Even though she never knew my daughter Heidi and even though she hasn’t watched me suffer some of the most grueling days of my life, she knows that we’re all just floating along and we need a hand to hold, because life is fleeting and the currant keeps moving.

Thank you, friend. I am so grateful for you.

In the hands of the potter,

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