A friend, who had been going through some difficult times, said to me. “It’s not
what life does to you but what you do with life.” Those words came to mind again when I first met Sally.
Our first meeting was in a prayer group just starting in our church. My husband and I had moved to the area recently and I was missing familiar places and faces, but the first time Sally and I met we both sensed an immediate friendship. We talked together like old friends who had just been reunited. It was only when we were leaving and she extended her hand in goodbye that I became aware of how life had afflicted her.
Sally had her first flare up of arthritis shortly after graduating from high school in 1962. She was finally diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1964. However, during times of remissions, Sally pushed on with her life. She graduated from Harper State College with a BA Degree in Sociology. She and her husband, Orion married in 1968 and have a grown daughter, Mary
But slowly the crippling arthritis continued to take its toll on her body however it also did something else. It strengthen her mind and spirit with a determination to stay in life‘s stream. She stayed active in church and community affairs. She keeps her hands busy sewing and doing cross-stitch as gifts for others. “I was never told that I couldn’t do anything so I went out and did what I could.” She told me.
One of her many talents, is a gift for writing. She now contributes to a column on prayer in her church newsletter and has several articles in various devotional books. But where she excels is in the encouraging notes and cards she sends out regularly to those who are sick or discouraged. She is noted for giving a word from Scriptures along with her own knowledge of the special challenges of life. In her cards she also sprinkles smile stickers, angels and kitty cats around her words. Gloom doesn’t linger long around Sally.
She has taught me so much by helping me see life from a different perspective. She takes what life gives her and creates something new and good out of it. But there is one thing she does that says a lot to those who know about her ability to face every day life with humor. Through all the many hospital stays she has had to go through, Sally always takes a special stuffed green alligator with her. He lies on the bed beside her as she recuperates from the latest surgery. He is there to say with a toothy grin,
“Sometimes life gets tough but I am tougher.” All friends are valuable but a friend who lives life to the fullest, in spite of infirmities, raises the bar for all of us.