“Uh, yes… we’d like the Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Strawberries Salad, please, dressing on the side.” Verdict: Healthy!
“Uh…and could you please bring us some of your biscuits with those salads?” Verdict: Unhealthy (but oh-so-fun…)!
Highly amused, our waitress trotted off to retrieve piping hot biscuits with butter, honey, jelly, and more butter to “accompany” our salads. Surely the salad would counteract the calories of the biscuits???
This meal was part of a recent “banner day” with a long-time friend from Indianapolis. She’s not just any friend. She’s a wife, mom, accomplished and published writer, a teacher, a life coach, and an ultra crafty note card maker. We hadn’t seen each other in WAY too many years. Allow me to introduce you to Robin Chaddock.
Good news: Robin’s newly married daughter lives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Better news: Robin was coming to visit! We snagged a tiny window in our schedules, jumped on I-65, meeting in the middle, at the Cracker Barrel south of Louisville.
We had lofty ambitions to go antiquing after lunch and to “check on” potential bargains at Zappo’s. Shocking, after our very long lunch, we only got as far as the rockers on Cracker Barrel’s porch. With a lovely, warm breeze in our hair, we solved a few of life’s problems.
Isn’t it fun when you can steal away with a friend? Even if only for a meal, sometimes it’s the boost we need to navigate the day. Verdict: healthy!
This quote is a favorite from a book on friendship (compiled by Snapdragon Editorial Group, Inc.) : “A true friend is someone who has met your family and is sure you will overcome the law of genetics.” Smile. Plain and simple: Sometimes friends “get” you better than family does.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.” (NRSV)
Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks-Living Life as a 21st Century Woman, has been opening our eyes about the different types of God Chicks we were created to be. We’ve learned about the Just-B-U Chick, The Princess Chick, The Warrior Chick, and the Champion Chick.
This week, in learning more about being a Friend Chick, we’ll pick up where we left off in a favorite book, Over Salad and Hot Bread—What an Old Friend Taught Me About Life by Mary Jensen. We met Mary Jensen who is a “Martha” and Nancy Bayless who was most definitely a “Mary”.
Mary and Nancy had a favorite activity: taking car trips. In addition to writer’s conferences, they found fun anywhere they went. As the years rolled by, Mary realized their car trips were taking on a different distinction.
Not having gone to a doctor in fifty years, Nancy was suddenly in need of several doctors. Recently widowed, with health deteriorating, and now dealing with the “Big C”, Mary said, “Nancy dealt with age in one primary fashion: She didn’t talk about it.”
Why is it we all deny aging, thinking we all will escape it? Verdict: Unhealthy!
I love how Mary puts it, “Tho’ the body sags and fails, our dear little souls stay young.” So true. Each year when John and I take our sons to the University of Kentucky, I typically will don one of their backpacks. Magically transported back into time, I think I’m the student….until someone calls me “Mam”…Sigh.
After my Dad had a stroke and we realized he and Mother could no longer function in their home, John and I took them on a tour of an Assisted Living facility nearby. After the tour, John posed the big question, “Well, how’d you like it?” Not skipping a beat, Mother said, ”Oh, it’s just a bunch of old people!”
Back to Mary and Nancy: Mary and two other close friends, plus family, are learning how to care for their beloved Nancy. Here’s where the topic of this week’s post comes in: Are your friendships healthy or unhealthy?
I won’t even attempt to address the mental aspect of friendships…Best resource for such is a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend called Boundaries—When to Say “Yes”, How to Say “No” to Take Control of Your Life. Additionally, my friend Jane taught me, “If there’s something that bothers you in a relationship, and it’s still there six months later, MOVE ON…”
Where I’m wanting us to head is in the physical aspect of healthy or unhealthy friendships. I’ve had so many friends battling cancer recently. It’s a scary place to be if you’ve not dealt with it before. Mary and her friends:
Handled Nancy’s cancer journey with respect,
Aspiring to meet her needs,
Loving her NO MATTER WHAT.
Verdict: Faithful friends STAY during good health and bad health.
In spite of all the changes, Nancy kept her chin up. Visitors lined up to glean more wisdom from her. Her three closest friends received a cram course in how to keep their marriages alive.
“Nancy, always on a quest to protect the marriages around her, climbed up on that soapbox without leaving her chair. Before her illness, she actually worked up an entire seminar on the subject of touching. ‘Physical contact’ became her signature recommendation for marital staleness or difficulty.” Verdict: healthy.
Finally, Nancy and Mary’s shared faith became a rock to cling to. Nancy kept her Bible open to Zephaniah 3:17:
“The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.” Every phrase had meaning for Nancy.
When asked how her spiritual life was going, Nancy said, “I’m overwhelmed with the Lord’s presence.” May we ALL be overwhelmed with His presence.
Don’t miss this lesson at the end of the book from Mary: “I suppose when someone seems so alive, so interested in you, so vested in what matters to you, that you come to pay homage, to mend breaches, to comfort, to console, perhaps to catch one last glimpse before your friend slips into eternity. Or sometimes you come just to be loved for a few more minutes.” (Can’t tell you any more other than to fetch some Kleenex!)
You also must read about Jerry Jenkins and his wife, Dianna’s visit with Nancy. It was their wish to be with Nancy just one more time. Jerry has a special nickname for her. He mentions it in the forward of the book, and he explains it during the visit. (Not spoiling that either!)
You’ll be happy to know Jerry read Psalm 91 to Nancy. They, too, shared a love for God’s Word. More tears.
Mary gives us the best advice on dying: “…death is aptly defined as bittersweet. There’s no denying the sorrow, the loss, but it’s such a sweet privilege to be there. And when the dying one is anticipating a reunion in heaven, and the face-to-face meeting of her God and Savior, and when you believe it, too, there is little to mourn.” Verdict: Healthy!!!
So does Mary carry on Nancy’s legacy? Not tellin’, but bet you can guess. You must see how it all unfolds. Hint: God is glorified.
May we all take these tips on being a faithful, Mary-like, in-sickness-or-health Friend Chick. And may we serve up some chocolate so Nancy will smile over us.
‘Til next time!
(This week’s post is dedicated to my friend and mentor, Robin Chaddock. See her fabulous books below….I met her years ago thru’ a divine appointment, thanks to my cousin Bonnie. Robin has also been a speaker for us at Book Club. I’m beyond tickled that she has more than one reason now to blow thru’ Louisville!!! God Bless you and your family, Robin!)