Morning Alison. Friend at your disposal today. Can come anytime b4 1330 or between 1415 and 1645. Let me know what's most helpful.
The date was the 19th of April 2012. It was three weeks to the day since Ashlea's kidney transplant. Ashlea had been home for two weeks and was going back to the hospital every day for blood tests and monitoring. Murray had just come home from hospital but was only staying for one night before going to rehab for his newly (and unexpectedly) acquired brain injury. To say it was a crazy time in our lives would be an understatement.
The sender was a lady from church. I vaguely knew who she was - we had spoken maybe once or twice since our family had joined the church six months earlier.
Her first message was quickly followed up by another the next day:
Morning Alison. Just read blog. How can I help 2day? Do the hospital runs with Murray? Mind the girls? U name it and I'm there.
This lady was determined to help even though I hardly knew her.
The texts kept coming. On the 24th of April. The 25th of April. The 2nd of May. The 6th of May. She was persistent!
Usually I would fob off a stranger's offers of help - not because I don't want or need the help but because sometimes in a crisis dealing with well-meaning strangers becomes just one more thing you have to do. I had a hunch though that this well-meaning stranger could be worth talking to.
You're the lady whose husband had the car accident right? What would be good would be to catch up some time next week once kids at school and Muz at rehab - seeing as we share the 'near death of husband, rehabilitation of husband and will husband recover fully' experience. Would love to have a cuppa with you next week.
And with that an enduring friendship was born. The well meaning stranger went on to become one of the very few people who stood unwaveringly with me during the months of confusion, anger and frustration that were to follow. She didn't flinch when I asked 'Why God?' She didn't back away from the crazy, angry ranting like others were tempted to. She stayed and listened through it all. And through it all she always pointed me back to Jesus.
In a way it's a funny friendship that we have. We have very few interests in common (seriously she likes camping and hiking AND she JOGS - how are we even friends???) and yet we have the most important things in common. We love Jesus. We are both striving to persevere in difficult circumstances.
It's kind of like God knew I would need a friend just like her.