Carol* and I have been friends since we were in our teens and we are both approaching retirement age now. Her name has been on my prayer lists many times throughout the years. At times, she reminds me of Job in the Old Testament, in that it seems that she has had so many disappointments and discouragements to deal with and I do not know why it should be that way.
Carol’s parents divorced after she was an adult and already married. What a disappointment that was for her! Her parents had been in ministry and Carol was supportive of the work they did. The family breakup shattered all that she had known and taken for granted, as she was growing up. She had never imagined her parents deciding to go their separate ways.
Through the years, Carol has also had to contend with significant health problems. At times, the challenges she has faced have been life threatening. At other occasions, she has faced mobility issues of various kinds that hampered her ability to do the work she loves, serving others in the medical profession.
Another challenge that came Carol’s way was the loss of employment by her husband. This was not just an interim job loss. It continued for quite some time and resulted in him having to choose a job in a sector that for him was quite uncomfortable, but it seemed to be the only possibility on the horizon.
Carol faced the usual challenges of parenting her children, sharing the joys and sorrows that are common to most of us. However, when her youngest son was in university, he developed a disease that presented constant unknowns to the medical community. One of the complications of this disease was kidney failure and the solution was for Carol to donate one of her kidneys to her son. Of course, she did this without hesitation, as any Mother would who can do something to save the life of her child. Even after the transplant, her son continues to face constant health issues and the family never know from day to day how the illness is next going to manifest itself. It requires a day-by-day faith to carry on with courage.
Currently both Carol and her husband are again facing health issues. This is the reason that she is on my intensive care prayer list today. It is difficult to understand why Carol has had to contend with so many challenges in life. It seems unfair, yet I know that Carol is a woman of great faith. She keeps on going, even though she does not know what the next day might hold. She has refused to be held back by fear of the unknown or by the “what ifs” of life. I feel honoured to have friends like Carol, and it is my joy to be able to accompany her on a difficult journey by my prayers.
*I have changed Carol’s name but not her story.