It’s cold today. The kind of cold where the sun shines in a false warmth outside the window and a sneaky frigid air greets your lungs at the door.
The kind of cold that nearly suffocated me last winter.
There’s something about breathing in deep when sorrow squeezes tight. Fresh air in. Heart ache out. Healing is slow when breaths are short. Winter air catching in the throat. Constricting. Interrupting. Surprising. When summer finally came, I stood outside more than once taking deep breaths. Inhaling life. Exhaling death.
I took a handful of days from the last couple of weeks to work on a project. Copying and pasting. Laying out page after page. Reading anew word after word after word. Faith. Hope. Prayer. Steadfast, unflinching belief that He is good mixed with the raw honesty of where is He?
18 months became 130 pages inside one 13×11 book. And it came with a lot of tears… still. After nearly a year.
Scott sent photos from last Thanksgiving for the book. I hadn’t looked at them in quite awhile. I knew how sick she was. But I forgot how sick she looked. That last night together was beautiful and heart wrenching. But she allowed us to take photos. Not because she felt beautiful. But because she knew what we didn’t. As I looked at them, I sat on the edge of the bed. And I cried.
But it was a slightly different type of cry. Through the tears, I found myself whispering thank you for the privilege of that friendship. For the honor of that journey. For the joy of knowing her.
This morning I put on my favorite cable knit leggings to ward off the 15 degrees trying to push its way into the house. And I wrapped up in a favorite sweater. Putting on Shawna, I thought. Because it was hers. And I began to think about the armor of Christ. About the waist of truth. The breastplate of righteousness. The shield of faith. The helmet of salvation. The sword of the Spirit.
What if, in our daily dressing with Christ, we also put on soul-knitting friendship. The kind of friendship that leaves our yarn hanging loose and vulnerable. When we stop loving from afar and start living up close. When we stop texting that we’re thinking about someone and show up to tell them in person. When we live in action and not on screen. When we love in italics and not in fine print. And when things get tough for someone, we roll up our sleeves, square our stance, and brace ourselves for the long haul.
I don’t know about you, but I want all my friendships to be cable knit.
Oh, friend. So good. Amen and amen!