Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Friends for the Journey

(A guest post from Lauren Shinn)

Before Emily had her first surgery, I promised her I would write a blog post.

"Ok," she said, "but make it about how we met or something."

That's code for "don't make it about me."

Emily strives to make her blog accessible and applicable to everyone, and she does a darn good job of it.  Right before her first surgery, and before the (horrible, terrible, no good, very bad) chemo, Emily and I sat down to chat.  Since she'd been blogging, she insisted on hearing about what had been going on in my life.  I struggled to open up since it felt like any trials I was facing paled in comparison to cancer.  But after bonding over stories about husbands, children, and the trials of motherhood, I stood up to leave saying "you're right...we aren't that different."  Yeah...that was true in a lot of ways...except the life threatening illness Emily was getting ready to battle.  What is this magical power Emily has to make you feel so important?

But I digress.  Per her request...

Emily and I met in a 12 Stone small group about four years ago.  I had been in several small groups, but when I found Emily's, I'd found home.  My faith story is a complicated one...I suppose everyone's is in some way.  At the time (and in many ways, still now), I was unsure of so much.  I didn't have answers for all the questions presented in the books we were studying.  Most of my responses in group started with, "Sorry guys...I'm just weird...I can't even answer this question the way it was asked...I think about it this (other totally random) way."  It wasn't that I didn't have intelligent thoughts about the topics, those thoughts just didn't fit within the typical Christian approach.  Plenty of small groups would have judged or ostracized me.  Did Emily care?  Absolutely  not.  In fact, she was my cheerleader for showing up every week with all my doubts, questions, and odd responses in tow.  That's a fact I will never forget.

You see there are certain people who become such a part of your journey that you can't imagine what your life would look like without them.  Emily is one of those people for me.  Without her love and acceptance, I'm not sure where I'd be.

So, in true Emily fashion, I have a challenge for you.

How can you become a part of someone else's journey?
How can you build someone up despite your own struggles?
How can you make someone feel loved and accepted despite your differences?

Because we all need each other to get through this thing called life.  No journey is complete without some good friends by your side.

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