After Rhoda left me I soon discovered that I was a son of Adam who was not made to be alone. When I joined a grief support group I was given a few minutes to write a psalm of lament. Here is what I wrote:
O Wind Eternal; you blew by; and Rhoda was gone.
O Wind Eternal; we were here; you came by; and she is gone; and I am here alone.
O wind eternal; you said it is not good to be alone. And I am here alone.
And you and I agree; it is not good to be alone.
That was my psalm of lament. My emotions would not allow me to read it to the group, so I ask our leader to read it. It was a prayer to the God I have come to believe in, the Spirit/Wind that brooded over the beginning darkness, and that caused the pentecostal sound of a Mighty Wind while tongues of fire lit the room in which the church was birthed.
The Wind responded to my loneliness and blew to me a friend whom I will call “Joy,” for she seems to me to be the personification of joy. Anyone who follows this blog knows of her existence, but I feel a need to tell you why I like her.
I like her because she introduced herself to me with a smile. Later, she explained her initiative to me like this. She has been a newcomer in a number of churches and she appreciates the importance of welcoming strangers. I seemed like a newcomer to her, so she welcomed me with a smile. I like her smile.
Yesterday we went to Elkhart for a guided tour of the Mennonite Offices offered us by Rachel. My friend enjoyed the wonderful wood that beautifies the building, and the story about how it was donated free up to the point of installation. She enjoyed the art contributed by the artists. She thinks that I know more people than she does, but yesterday she knew more people than I did. They came out of the “woodwork” and greeted her.
I like her for her appreciation for the Mennonite Church, USA and its institutions. I like her loyalty to her family and friends. I like her because she knows the privileges and the boundaries of friendship.
I like her because she broadens the boundaries of my life. Her family ties took her to Thailand, Argentina, and much of Canada and the US that I have not experienced. I like it when she tells me I look “spiffy” and how she accepts me as I am.
I like her for her open mind. We agreed early that friends do not need to agree on everything to be friends. We share stories of the joys and strengths, and the brokenness, of our two families and we believe that if our spouses know of our friendship they approve and say “go for it.” We laugh and cry as we tell the stories of the spouses who live in our memories.
I like her for she has worked as a secretary and corrects spelling and places commas with grace. I like her for she is my “Joy” and we are friends. I like that. Posted as always with her permission.