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.
In hope I depend
On Jesus, my friend; lifting
My eyes up to him.
I have just attempted yet another haiku challenge from Ronovan Writes blog using the words “hope” and “up”. I am enjoying the challenge of putting different and even opposite words in such a short poem. If you like challenges and haiku’s then I invite you to also accept his latest challenge at this link: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/category/haiku-prompt-challenge/
She had returned once again:
That Black-eyed Susan, my friend.
Resting in the tall, wild grass;
Lemon beauty lass.
I watch for her; her simple
Beauty I treasure.
In the grass along
The road; she blooms also in
A hidden meadow.
Each year I search til
I see her golden face so
Familiar to me.
Something about this
Flower causes me to pause,
Think and to ponder.
I find her every
Year like a friend who stays
Close by; so near.
Through the years, life will
Progress to eternity.
And it is by faith
That I learn to be quiet
And patiently wait.
She then reminds me
That although it can
Be hard to see I must choose
To live peacefully.
And quietness is hard when
I want to be heard.
But most soothingly
I’m reminded that God hears
My prayers; my every word.
So every year I
Seek her face to remember
God’s true saving grace.
And through love shown by
Him I can live each day in
Peace hidden within.
Isaiah 54: 10 (Holy Bible New International Version):
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.
Springtime, friends, and strolls
By the river; sweet joys make
Me smile and shiver.
I have just attempted yet another haiku challenge from Ronovan Writes blog using the words “friend” and “shiver”. I am enjoying the challenge of putting different and even opposite words in such a short poem. If you like challenges and haiku’s then I invite you to also accept his latest challenge at this link: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/category/haiku-prompt-challenge/
Flavor of Autumns Past
Pungent scent of oak, pine, and maple trees
Penetrating the autumn air.
Remembering also the birches, cedars, and elms
Adding their aromatic flair.
Clasping to the limbs are leaves of deep and changing
Colors; apple red and tangerine orange,
And bright splashes of dark lime and lemon yellow grandeur.
Sweet memories of walking, strolling, and
Wading through clusters, piles, and layers of fallen leaves.
Autumn is harvest time as the last
Of the vegetables and fruits are plucked smelling fresh and sweet.
Pumpkin, squash, and ripened tomatoes
Are reaped from the gardens while the clinging apples
Are pulled from the orchard trees:
Granny Smiths, braeburns, bright red delicious, and
The yellow delicious apples too.
The last of the corn, the wheat, soybeans, and hay
Are reaped without further delay.
Then all enjoy the harvest and a feast on Thanksgiving Day.
Enjoying the warm winds from the south
And the west; a strong and yet gentle, tantalizing breeze
Before the colder north and eastern gales
Rush on in and strip the swaying trees until they’re bare.
For by then autumn is gone and winter
Has rushed in with its snow, layers of ice, and frigid cold
As temperatures drop to zero and below.
Amid the snow and that freezing cold, we take the time
To celebrate Christmas, favorite holiday of old.
Then to restore hope of warmer days to come, a hint of
Spring is in the air as the snow melts
And the ground is bare. Also soon, the snow turns to rain
And the world becomes green again.
Summer then arrives for all those young at heart who like
To camp, hike, swim, and dive.
Such enjoyment of long days, abundant sunshine, and
Celebration of Independence Day.
Like the musical beat of a favorite song or poem which
Entails its own melodious rhyme,
Each season with its own scents and flavors enters in its own
Predictable and expected time. As
After autumn, winter arrives, and then comes spring
Followed by summer and then autumn
Returns again with its own aroma and charming flavor
like an enchanting and familiar friend.
Ode to a Journey to Wyoming
One day I awoke to prepare once again
To go on journey to visit my friend.
I have traveled this same route several years ago
But the adventure of going on a trip never grows old.
twice I have endeavored on this solo journey of
Traveling from Minnesota to the land of Wyoming.
The familiar towns and landmarks along the way
Are dear old companions who greet me and wave
While silently proclaiming, “Yes we are still here;
So glad to see you travel our way this year.”
I passed through several small towns and by farmsteads too
And oh my, Lake Heron is a splendid sea of blue.
I drove by several state parks along the way
And note, “I must visit there on another day.”
The morning was full of bright, illuminating sunshine
As I drove along the interstate crossing the first state line.
Onward I drove with my intent eyes peering into the horizon
As I joyfully anticipated revisiting my high school friend.
And lo, how we both know that we don’t visit enough
As times can be hard and cost of travel just too much.
With the consistent rain through the summer months,
The ground has remained emerald green; deep and lush.
For usually, the further I journeyed westward from home,
The atmosphere became more and more arid while I drove.
But on this trek the land remained moist and green much longer
And I chose to enjoy this and not ponder and wonder.
So forward I drove and gladly journeyed
Into the horizon; a vast green and blue sea.
Near the end of the day my traveling was done
As I paused beneath the vaulted ceiling of a glowing sun.
While it slid down settling in the distant west,
I knew it was time for a long night rest.
I opted to stay at on a hilltop of green sloped wonder
In a motel overlooking the winding Missouri River.
For the wide flowing blue stream curved this way and that
With an iron scalloped bridge uniting one land mass to the next.
Next morning arrived and soon I was on the road
Anticipating new places to see and sights to behold.
“I can’t help it,” I chided myself with a frown,
“I must visit once again that old ghost town.”
Soon I found the right off-ramp and pulled in
And found myself wandering the old streets again.
I strolled past the old schoolhouse and the church too
Wondering what life was like back in say…1882.
I drove on nearing the Wyoming border
And noticed the rugged mountains coming closer.
After another long day’s drive,
To my friend’s house, I finally arrived.
I was there for a week, treasuring each day;
And we embarked on a few adventures along the way.
Such a sweet time to spend with a dear friend,
That my heart ached with sadness at the week’s end.
Turning around I started the long journey home
Thankful for friendship which nourished my soul.
So now, ode to a Journey I took to Wyoming,
I have a new treasure of memories inside of me.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 Holy Bible NIV
Each new day I face the unknown
Seemingly all by myself; all alone.
I follow a path I can’t fully see
Where danger sometimes eludes me.
It is an ongoing trek into the future;
A solo journey I continue to endeavor.
Since my youth, I have been walking this path
And only the Lord knows how long it will last.
I try to travel in sweet content and joyfulness
Trying to remember God is near, and through him I’m blessed.
But some days are harder to strain and see
The love and goodness that the Lord is showing me.
I sometimes miss the sun and rainbows in life
As I face obstacles and endure strife.
Because I’m too worried and too wrapped in deep doubt
As if I’ve been swallowed by a thick, foreboding thundercloud.
I stumble in the pit of that deep dark night
Yearning to see a comforting and glowing light.
Something to rekindle my lost and trampled hope;
Someone to help me rise with courage and cope.
I stumble around as my mind and heart cannot see
And then fall down ever so continuously.
Finally, I pause to rest and lo, I find a friend
For Jesus had come seeking me yet again.
For in this world of worry I can find peace
When I stop to remember Jesus is with me.
For he promises to never ever leave
And that no one can snatch me from thee.
Out of the darkness I emerge again
Seeing the rainbows and the sun.
So as I continue this solo journey on my own,
I’m again reminded that I am not really all alone.
Hello dear friend, how splendid to see;
Will you have some coffee with me?
Perhaps we can stop in this quaint café
And chat this morning away.
It is such a beautiful morning
With a brilliant sunrise streaking the horizon.
Oh, you are having a cappuccino today?
I think I’ll try a mocha latte.
Yes, I do enjoy the warm coffee
When the autumn air is brisk and chilly.
So what is new with you?
Busy at work? Oh, yes, me too.
While at my job, each day is so different
And quite often it does not go as planned.
Some days are being difficult, you say?
I hope things get better; I will pray.
I must admit that I struggle too
And sometimes I don’t know what to do.
Why do we have to struggle so much?
All seems well then suddenly I’m overwhelmed and rushed.
You sometimes feel that way also?
How do you deal with that? How do you cope?
I worry too much and fret the day away.
Yes, you’re right; I need to pause and pray.
Yes, you’re right again; I need to slow down.
I need to stop, listen to God, and again be calm.
Why yesterday is a perfect example;
I complained about the rain and missed the rainbow.
I saw the arching, colorful bow later on-line;
A photo taken by a friend of mine.
Oh yes, it was too bad that I let myself worry
And then miss a blessing, God had for me.
Today will be different; I promise to try.
I’ll trust God more and enjoy the sunshine.
Thank you dear friend for having coffee with me;
Because of you, I’ve had a wonderful morning.
When a rainbow streaks the sky after the thunder and the rain
Is a time to remember that God keeps all his promises to the end:
Remember Jesus as the Son of God and Lord
And he will also remember us according to his word.
Always faithful: God’s love and faithfulness never end;
For once he’s with us, he remains as our Father and friend.
Individual and personal as he calls us each by name
While through the ages, his deep love remains the same.
Never forgetting: as we live a new life with Jesus,
God promises to never leave nor forsake us.
Blessings and kindnesses he will gladly show
By answering our prayers and giving us lasting hope.
Omnipresent: God’s unseen spirit is everywhere;
In our hearts and in the breeze that filters the air.
Whispering in the soft wind at night, he reminds us of his word
As we lay quietly in that stillness remembering he is Lord.