You open the front door, giving half a knock and calling out “hello”. Recognising your voice instantly I call back “Come on in, I’m in the kitchen!” Kicking off your shoes along the way you come straight through the house to the kitchen. Your familiarity in my home is further proclaimed as you get comfortable in your favourite chair and without asking I switch on the kettle.
“How hot do you want your coffee today?” I ask as if the ache in my chest hadn’t already told me the answer. “Boiling,” your reply, “because I’ll be here a little while today.” “Well,” I think aloud, “At least you didn’t bring your sleeping bag this time.”
General chit-chat completed, you pick up your coffee and invite me outside “Because I know its gardening day. That’s usually when you and I catch up.” I put on my gloves and start to pull weeds. You lounge on the grass sipping away.
As we visit our relationship surfaces. “We’ve known each other a while now” you start the conversation. “Yeah,” I answer, slowly nodding my head. “Sometimes it feels like forever. Some years it feels like you’re here all the time and others I hardly see you at all.”
“My reasons for calling have changed over time” you rumble in your deep gentle voice. “To begin with it was for house moves and job exits.” “Saying good-bye to pets and friends leaving town” I add and then with a sigh “These days you’re here more for funerals and loss of dreams.”
There’s a moment of memorial as we sit in silence before I attack another weed. “Overtime I’ve grown used to you. We’ve grown close and familiar with each other. I know how you work and I know when you’re about to leave again. We started out as acquaintances but now I’d have to say we’re friends.”
With a nod you move to a kneeling position beside me. “How about I help you weed today? There’s some deeper roots that I can help you deal with today, if you’ll let me. Some of them have been there a while and will take some teamwork to remove.”
A few bruises and bites are collected and a few tears fall as we reminisce on old times and slowly work together. A thought occurs to me and almost hesitating I ask “I don’t mean to be rude to you my friend, but why do you visit me so often? You and I know each other so much better than so many of my friends. Why me?”
“Because you asked” is your simple reply.
Bewilderment crosses my face as I’m totally confused by your answer. “Say what?”
“Isaiah 53:3” is all you say.
Now it’s my turn to rock back on my heels and think while you steadily keep pulling up weeds. I think for a bit but don’t get it. “You’ll have to explain it to me,” I admit.
Turning your focus entirely on me you gently explain. “Gail, you asked to be more like Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53:3 says that He was “acquainted with grief.” So here I am.”
“Yeah, ok, I get it. Are you leaving now?”
“Yes. I’ve done what I came to do today.” You stand and dust yourself off. I look back at my garden, we’ve accomplished much together in a short time.
“Thanks for your help my friend. I’m sure I’ll see you again soon.” We hug and you quietly slip out of my life again. “Good-bye Grief.”
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