Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Home (01/09/06)
TITLE: FOREVER MY FRIEND
By Rita Gibson
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I entered into a small, neat looking living room where June, sat on a sofa. She was a beautiful young woman, and at the time about my age. Her head was wrapped in a light green bandana that tied at her forehead. She smiled as I introduced myself to her and her daughter Debbie, who was now snuggling beside her mother. June exclaimed that she was so happy to see me and wanted to buy the products I was selling for a long while. I told her I lived right around the corner and my phone number was on the back of the brochure and she could call me any time.
I set out my samples on her coffee table and told her to help herself to any of the items. Before I could finish describing one of the products, June, looked at me with a warm smile and told me how nice it was for me to visit her. I felt very welcomed and sat down on the couch telling her how nice it was to meet her also. She told me how much she wanted to buy some little earrings for her daughter Debbie than began telling me she hadn’t been to church for a while and how much she missed it. I gladly listened as she explained that since she had breast cancer she lost contact with the people from her church. It seemed they avoided her because of her illness and the only fellowship she had was the tv ministries.
June, her husband and two children had moved to Pennsylvania from Alabama 6 months ago and joined a church in the area. She was there in Pennsylvania 4 months when the doctors found a lump on her breast. They immediately performed a mastectomy but the cancer had spread to her other breast soon afterwards. As she was telling me this my heart felt like it was beating rapidly in my chest. I hoped she didn’t notice my uneasiness. I prayed for God to calm me as I sat listening to June pour out her life to me. Not that she wanted pity, but to have someone ...a friend just care. . God chose me and put me in that situation and I was not about to hurt her more by rushing out of there. I continued to listen as she told me how her husband had been a lady’s man and how she’d pray night after night for him to come home from the bars. How, through her getting cancer, he turned to God and was saved. It was a miracle and I also shared my testimony with her. That afternoon, we became good friends.
A few days later, I heard a knock on the door. It was June. It was the first time since her first operation that she had taken a walk. I was so happy to see her and invited her in with joy. Both her children were with her. Beside’s her daughter, Debbie, she had a 12 year old son, Frank. They got along very well with my three children. June and I drank tea and made a plan to have church together that Sunday. Since she had a garage that was clean and empty, we decided to invite children from the neighborhood and have Sunday School there. I went over the Saturday night and pulled chairs and a few tables in the garage. With her husband’s help we managed to fix it up . We brought out a small tape player and had children’s hymns tapes. We rounded up all the bibles we could find and June had typed up a few short sermons. We put signs around the neighborhood telling about our little service. I knew most of the children since they were friends of my kids and we were known around the area.
Sunday morning June and I were all ready for action. The garage door was wide open and our children were settled in their seats when other’s from the neighborhood arrived one after the other. We sang along with the hymns on the tape player and the first song was “Jesus Loves Me, This I know.”
June’s face was lit up like an angel’s and I was over-whelmed by her knowledge of the bible. She had taught Sunday School to children in Alabama. I thanked God over and over for my new friend and felt God’s hand was healing June despite what the doctor’s were saying. Both her breast were gone, and the radiation treatments had taken a toll on her body but somehow I had to believe she would be alright.
Thanksgiving was in two weeks and I invited June and her family to share Thanksgiving dinner with my family. She accepted the invitation gratefully. But a week before Thanksgiving I got a call from her husband. He was at the hospital with June. The cancer had spread like wild fire and June was dying. He cried as he put the phone to June’s ear. She could hardly speak but I understood all she was saying. My weeping was not held back and June tried comforting me. The last thing she said to me was, “I love you.” And, “We’ll see each other one day.” That night June went home to live with our Lord.
For the next few days I walked around in shock. I really thought God would heal her body and she’d get well. Sadness mingled with fear kept pouring over me as I tried to understand why she had to leave. So young a mother and wife and my best friend. Why did God bring her to me and then take her? I didn’t understand for a long while.
Thanksgiving was a very solemn day but I managed to serve a nice turkey dinner attended by my family and June’s also. Her husband told us he was going into the ministry and him and the children would be moving to another state. I congratulated him and we all prayed for his safe journey.
I missed June very much, and still do. But I know now God placed us together for eternity. When I go home one day, June will be there to make me tea. She won’t be wearing the bandana anymore either. I can still hear her, in my mind sometimes, singing, “Jesus Loves me, This I know.” And I do know.
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