“A true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else believes the smile on your face.” ~Unknown
My community group friends through our church have made a commitment to support me through my battle with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS). They frequently ask how I’m doing, they listen, and they pray for me. They exercise patience and understanding on a regular basis. I don’t doubt that they care.
I had been spiraling downward for several weeks as my pain level had been rising. I was passing the time by wandering around Target when I ran into an old friend. I hadn’t seen her in a long time. The first words out of her mouth were, “You encourage me every day.”
“Wow. Really? How so?”
She proceeded to tell me how she had broken her leg and had to be home bound for several weeks with her leg elevated.
Then she said what God knew I needed to hear.
“I had a lot of pain and every week when I read your blog you said just the right thing to encourage me. Your story of pain has really spoken to me.”
I had started the day feeling rather melancholy. I was facing another procedure and I was in a writing funk.
Crossing paths with Jolene was not a coincidence. God knew exactly what I needed that day. He used her to encourage me. She is a sweet friend who knows the power of the spoken word. We have much in common as we face each day by faith.
Long Time Friends
I have a group of friends that I have known for many, many years. When I’m not feeling well they are tuned in. All it takes is a prayer emoji sent via text and my sweet girlfriends know what’s going on and what I need. They are available at a moments notice. They are the hands and feet of Jesus to me. They’re committed to hanging in there with me since RSD/CRPS is a permanent fixture in my life.
I was relieved when I finally got a call that I was scheduled for the procedure. I’m maxed out on procedures. I might as well say so. How much they help is a mystery anyway. Treatment is just an educated guessing game as far as I’m concerned. They are supposed to help pain relief and quality of life. Debatable. I try to have a good attitude, but I’m five months into my fifth year and it’s getting harder.
The Surgical Center
Lynette is the first person I see when I arrive. I decided to text her a couple of days earlier to find out if she was going to be my nurse for the procedure. Her “yes” reply was a relief.
Lynette understands me. She knows I stuff my emotions and she knows how much I hate being asked, “What’s your pain level today?”
We’ve been friends a long time. She takes good care of me.
Patsy. As soon as I see her magenta colored fleecy jacket through the narrow operating room area window I start to relax. I know pain relief is on the way. Patsy is my anesthesiologist. Her presence calms me. She’s kind and compassionate. She meets my pain relief needs before I express them. I have confidence in the care she will give me. I’m dependent on her and I’m thankful for her. She’s been my husband’s partner and friend for more years than I can count. God’s provision through her is evident. I receive excellent medical care.
What About You?
Do you have a friend that has a chronic illness? She needs you. Isolation is a major danger for anyone who suffers from any kind of physical or emotional illness.
I have had some dark days over the course of my illness. Were it not for friends I may not have fared so well.
Helen Keller says, “Walking with a friend in the darkness is better than walking alone in the light.”
I agree with her.
I have not only survived, but thrived in my present circumstances because of the friends I have in my life. They each are a gift from the Lord. I treasure their friendship.
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14)