Recently, I lost one of my closest friends to cancer; she was just a few years older than me and she fought a very brave battle for as long as she could. It was tough battle complicated by other health issues, that left her very weak and tired. I tried to be there for her but I will always feel that I should have done more. Because of her strong faith in Jesus, she was not afraid of death. She knew without a doubt that she was going to heaven. So, in the wee hours of Thursday morning, August 31, 2017 my friend Cindy B. passed away.
A certain scripture soon came to mind from John 14:2-3 where Jesus is speaking to his disciples, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go there to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will also come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am.” So, in my heart I know, that very early Thursday morning, Jesus came by to take my friend Cindy B. to live in her new glorious home in heaven with the Lord Jesus.
Now memories of her flood my mind along with the image of her smile, the sound of her voice and her laughter. Also came to mind are favorite stories and special moments we have shared over the years of an enduring friendship. One story came to mind which I have decided to share. It is a peculiar tale that I have always remembered.
Cindy and I had been friends for a long time: we had met at Hope Baptist Church in 1988 shortly after I had moved to the Mankato area to attend Mankato State University. Little did I know then that Cindy and I would be lifelong friends. And we were more than friends, we also were sisters in Christ while attending the same church for years as we both continued to grow in our faith. Over the years we would sometimes go on little adventures. Cindy would say something like, “I want to get out of Mankato for a day.”
And being the agreeable friend that I was, I would respond, “Sure, where should we go?”
And so, began our little Sunday trips to Fairibault just to eat at the Golden Calf Corral. They had a baked potato and salad buffet that we both enjoyed. On one such bright Sunday after church, we once again headed to Fairibault. As we drove along the scenic country Highway 60, we suddenly became aware of cattle roaming about on both sides of the road. They clearly had escaped their fenced pasture.
Cindy was instantly worried, “Oh no, what should we do?”
“About the cows?” I asked.
“Cindy,” I responded, “I don’t know how to herd them back into the pen. And I certainly can’t do that alone. I don’t even know where the fence may be broken or how to fix it. When the farmer sees his cattle out he will take care of them.”
This did nothing to subside Cindy’s concern about the wandering animals who continued to walk along the road and into some nearby fields munching away on tall blades of grass, “Well, at least we should tell the farmer.”
“As soon as the farmer looks out the window or comes outside to do chores, he will see that his cows are out and will herd them back into their pen.”
“We should still tell the farmer.”
“Ok, Cindy,” I answered with a hint of exasperation in my voice, “we’ll find the nearest farmhouse and tell the farmer.”
A few moments later, we found a nearby farm but it appeared that no one was home because there seemed to be no vehicles. Now Cindy was more worried than ever about the cattle and I tried my best to reassure her, “As soon as the farmer and his family are home, they will see that their cows are out and they will get them back into their own pasture.”
Thinking that was the end of our conversation about the wandering cows, I stepped on the accelerator and prepared to continue our day adventure to Fairbault.
Cindy still wasn’t convinced, “We should leave them a note.”
Incredulous, I asked her, “Are you kidding me? It is obvious the cows are out. They are wandering all over the place. The farmer will see that the minute he comes home.”
“We should still leave a note.”
I protested, “Cindy, I feel really stupid leaving the farmer a note telling him that his cows are out when it is perfectly obvious that the cows are out.”
And suddenly right then, I knew Cindy was not going to change her mind. She was so worried about the wandering cows that she felt something needed to be done. So, I drove up the long driveway and proceeded to knock on the farmer’s door just in case they were home after all. No answer. I returned to the car and somehow, we found some paper and pen.
And so, I wrote, “Dear farmer, I am so sorry to tell you that your cows are out. I just thought you should know.” We managed to find tape in the car too and so I taped the note to their door.
We then continued to Fairibault where we enjoyed a lunch and some sweet fellowship. On the way back, we passed the same farm and this time, the cows were safely in their own pasture. Cindy gazed out the window looking at the peaceful scene, “I don’t why I got so worried about those cows and made you write that note.”
I smiled and shrugged, “I don’t know why either.” And we continued our journey home.
But now, many years later I do know why. That day was to serve as a sweet memory firmly planted in my mind and heart. I often think of special memories and friendships as gifts from heaven. Again, I remembered a scripture in which Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. Instead lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
My memory of that day is an everlasting reminder of the unique and special friendship that Cindy and I had shared. And our continuing friendship is a treasure waiting in heaven. So, I now know that having that special memory of Cindy is the reason why the cows were out on that one bright Sunday so long ago.