Somewhere between a book of my acquaintances and a notecard of my friendships, a space exists for which I have no title. My Facebook page says I have upwards of 900 “Friends” but in actuality, this accounting includes family and friends I have never even met! I would love to have a page appropriately titled for those people in my life who have influenced, awed or genuinely earned my respect, but are not necessarily those with whom I have intimate contact. I often wish I had more interaction with some of these people, but whether distance, opportunity, lifestyle or just priority scheduling interferes with my wishes, they remain extremely important to me.
One person in particular is a woman I have known for at least 25 years. I first met her and her husband when I was the Director of Children’s Ministry at my church. They volunteered every year of their two children’s preschool and elementary career- and then moved on to middle and high school volunteers with them as well. Her husband ran his own commercial real estate business and she was a “stay-at-home” mom. She is every bit what we Evangelicals call the Proverbs 31 woman. She led prayer groups, supported missions, volunteered in the community, had dinner on the table every night and loved her Savior, her Church and her family and friends with understated passion. Her children were well-mannered, respectful and successful in their pursuits. Her daughter is very much like her, choosing the very lifestyle she observed growing up.
From my perspective, I would describe Debby as “devoted”. She has an innate beauty about her that was never enhanced by makeup or extravagant clothes. Her speech is slow and self-depreciating. She has one best-girlfriend whose name is almost always said in the same sentence when talking about her. Their families are closer than any blood relationship I know. Even their daughters are best friends.
Debby would probably say that of course we are friends! Yet, although I see her on an almost weekly basis even today, we have never enjoyed the pleasure of one another’s company outside a church event. I don’t think she is even on Facebook or Twitter, but her husband is my Facebook “friend”.
A few years ago, Debby’s husband was diagnosed with cancer. True to her consistent, devoted and unassuming character, she served and loved Jim with true devotion. She prayed, graciously accepted the help of her church family when needed and lived fully and optimistically through the days of treatment. She even cared for her grandchildren on a regular basis during that frightening period. Perhaps the only clue to her worried mind is a touch more silver in her hair, but there is no doubt her faith in God carried her through.
To describe the invaluable relationships in my life like Debby, I think “Hero” or in her case “Heroine” is not too far off the mark. She is definitely one whom I admire for her consistent testimony of faith, her devotion, her courage and commitment to God, family and community. There are others, particularly in my Faith Community for whom this category applies. I am greatfull that because of our shared faith, I will have all eternity to continue developing genuine friendship with my “Heros”.😊