Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Anna and "Simon"

I want to share a story with you. I hope it will touch your heart as it did mine....

Last night I was checking my e-mail around 9pm. We had just put our kids to bed, and Shane was busy doing something..although I don't recall just what it was.

I was making great headway in clearing out my e-mail in-box....

Note from American Airlines...delete.
Your statement is ready to view from (my bank)...delete.
Vision Forum is having another 70% off sale...delete.
Your SW Gas bill is here...(whoopie!)....archive.

But then, I saw an e-mail from my dear friend, Anna. Anna and I have been friends since we were 8 years old. She is precious to me. She saw me through all of my years of rebellion and idiocy, and still loves me. (That's a GOOD friend!)

The subject line was simple..."nerves".

Except, I had a feeling in my heart that it wasn't going to be as simple as it might look....
you see, Anna has been feeling really strange lately...muscle weakness, tingling, numbness. 

Her PCP doctor basically told her she had a virus and should go home and get over it. 
(Don't get me started on this! If there's one thing I've learned from the summer of illness I've had, it's that as the patient we must press on until we get answers.)

Well, just as I was opening Anna's e-mail, and right after having put my kids down for bedtime, I hear this horrid banging noise outside.

It didn't take but a few seconds to recognize the was the kids next door again, with their blaring "music". 

If you'll allow me, I'm going to digress here for a few minutes...we live next door to 3 young men...I think one of them is a teenager, but I'm pretty sure that the other two are in their early 20s. There is a constant stream of cars in and out of there, and most often the cars are speeding through our neighborhood. We deal with broken glass strewn all over the street, with no one willing to take responsibility for it; loud noise at all hours of the night; trash all over the street, which we spend hours at a time picking up; and language that would make a sailor blush...which is often times being yelled at loud decibels while my children are playing out front.

Here's the kicker, though...these young men have been so responsive any time that we've asked them to quell the language or turn the music down. 

Granted, we don't always appreciate having to ask at crazy hours of the night, but when we do, they respond graciously.

They've also been quite thoughtful on more than one occasion and have helped us with moving heavy items. They don't hesitate..they just jump right in and help.

I've made them cookies, and taken them baked items, and always say "hello" and take a few minutes to talk with them. 

However, my flesh doesn't always want to be nice when their actions are inconveniencing my family!

Last night was one of those moments...I was just about to read the e-mail from my sweet friend, hoping to find out what has been plaguing her, and JUST AT THAT MOMENT comes the banging, irritating, moronic music from next door!

 I might mention here that before I became a Christian, "Salt & Peppa" was my favorite I once favored moronic music, too! Can you say, "compassion and understanding?".

I tried to ignore the noise and just read Anna's note.

There it was..."i am so tired. had spinal tap today. must wait 5-10 days for result.          3 lesions seen on my brain mri so doc does think ms. must have spinal tap result b4 meds i'll call soon
love anna "

Instantly the tears came...this is my dearest friend from childhood. I was the maid of honor in her wedding. She was mine..twice. In that moment, a flood of memories came pouring through of all the sweet times we'd had together over the past 31 years. 

And then, the fear...fear of the unknown. Fear of what she must be feeling. Fear of the future. 

And then, the desperate longing...the longing to hear her voice, although I knew she didn't feel like talking. The longing to hold her in my arms and cry our eyes out together. The longing to find things to make us laugh through the tears. The longing just to be with her.

And, in a rush...the deep desire to call my Mom, who knows and loves Anna so dearly...and tell her, and ask her to pray...knowing that she'd fill e-mail in boxes all over the world with prayer requests for Anna. Yet, my Mom is not in my life today...this is something that I haven't shared here publicly, as I haven't wanted to dishonor her in any way. 

It just is what it is for now, and I'm not going into it any deeper than that...I'll just tell you, I miss her so much. 

I miss her during every holiday. I miss her when my kids do something funny that I want to call and tell her about. I miss her from Thanksgiving through Mother's Day...each month a new reminder of her absence. 

And, I miss her terribly right now...when I want to call and tell her about my precious friend. 
I want to talk to her as only a mother and daughter can talk to one another. I want to hear her tell me that God is in control. In a word, I want my Mom.

I'm digressing again, I know.

Back to the seemed to be growing...louder and LOUDER and LOUDER. 
Reminded me of the Tell-tale heart in Poe's story, it did!

I sat at my computer, dealing with this flood of emotions, and wanting that noise to CEASE so that I could process in solitude, with the peace of knowing my kids wouldn't soon be running into the room to tell me about "the teenagers".

In an instant, I decided I'd just go ask them to turn it down. Now mind you, I never know what "them" it's going to be. Would it be one of their kind friends, or one of the ones rich in attitude?
I just didn't think I could deal with attitude in that moment.

So, I walked downstairs and out the front door without saying a word to Shane about anything..he didn't know what I was doing, and he didn't know what I'd just read. Usually, I'd ask him to talk to the teens, but I didn't even have the energy to ask in that moment.

Out the door and down the walk I went...and then I saw whose car it was that was blaring the music. For sake of privacy, we'll call him "Simon". ;)

I knew this kid by name. He's my favorite of all of their friends. He proudly boasts "Calvary Chapel" stickers all over his car, and is quick to talk about church with me should I bring it up.

I walked to his door..."Simon?"

"Oh, hey!" he says as he pops out of the car wearing his cross necklace.

"Simon, would you do me a favor? My kids have just gone to bed, would you be willing to turn your music down please?"

"Oh, sure." and he does it immediately.

"Thanks," I say and turn to go back home.

But then I pause, and I turn back to him...

"Don't you go to Calvary?" I ask.

"Yes. I do."

"I just found out that my best friend from childhood has MS...." and then the tears flow...having been held back as though by a dam, they are now pouring out like a flood.

"Would you be willing to put her on your church's prayer chain? Her name is Anna."

"Sure! I'm going to Youth Group tomorrow night. I'll put her on then. Anna, you said?"

"Yes." was all I could manage through the tears...

And then, "Simon" amazed me....he held his arms wide open and walked over to me and just took me into his arms and gave me the biggest bear hug and patted my back as I boo-hooed on his shoulder.

It was a loving, compassionate hug like one you'd get from a fellow Christian.

I don't even remember anything else he said to me. In truth, I don't think he said much, as I don't think there was really anything to be said....but I was so amazed by his merciful heart and his tenderness in that moment...I don't even know how to put into words how much this young man touched my heart, or how perfect his response was.

That was it. 

I thanked him, and came inside and fell into my husband's arms as I wept for my friend, and explained to Shane what I'd found out.

Thinking back over things from last night, I am blown away by how quick I can be to think that teenagers with moronic music don't have a brain in their heads....last night was a great awakening for me.

I know this post has been all over the place. I appreciate you just reading along and showing me grace.

Please pray for my precious friend, Anna. I love her so much, and I wish like anything that this diagnosis was mine and not hers.

And, with regard to that teenager in your neighborhood who makes you crazy...give them a's pretty cool to see them rise to the occasion.

I'm not going to grammar check this post...I'm just posting. 

I know you'll understand.


Jeanne said...

Anna is going on my church prayer roll too. Sorry to hear the news.

Deb said...

Thanks so much for sharing, I really enjoy reading your blog. Bless you as you minister so graciously to your neighbors and your friend Anna. Also, I pray God will grant you the desire of your heart, especially in regard to your mom.

Stephanie said...

Yes, this post touched my heart too. I'll keep Anna in my prayers and I will continue to pray for you, your household, and your parents. Anthem is so blessed to have you! You are such a wonderful neighbor. xoxo

Jes said...

Thank you, sweet friends. You all are precious to me!

Love you,

Janan Kash said...

Sweet Jes:

I know you miss your mom so much. I could not help but think about that so much during our visit in December - do you remember me asking you about her? Remember Jes that God works in fulfilled time - Romans 8:28 - all things work for the GOOD of those who love him who are called according to his purpose.

My heart felt so sad while I was reading your post - I even started crying when I read about the teen and the loud music. As I was reading, I found myself praying you would not go outside and blast those teens. You are a light in their dark world and an example of good family living. I have a special place in my heart for these troubled kids.

I am so sorry about Anna. Please know that I am praying for her that she will have a good doctor and good treatment - good management of this disease. Ed's Aunt is nearly 80 and has lived with MS her whole adult life. I need to say here that she has had a good life - there has been a lot of pain and difficulty - but it has been good. I pray these things for Anna as well.

I love you,

Remember Jes, that God works in fulfilled time. He is working everything towards a purpose - Romans 8:28 - All things work for the GOOD of those who love him who are called according to his purpose.

Jes said...

Oh Nan,

I wonder if it's even possible for you to know how much I love you?!

Big HUG!