My blog is going to be a little different this month. Instead of 30 minutes of photo’s I am re-editing old photo’s and doing 30 minutes of thoughts.
When we moved to the USA from South Africa in 2001, we moved as a 4 member family. While there were a number of South Africans living here we had no family. Richard thought he had a cousin in a remote part of the US but that was it. One of the things I knew to do, since this was the second big move we had made, was to get connected to a local church and a local woman’s group. My parents had always been involved in the local church and I saw the beautiful lasting friendships that my mother had with the women in her church.
For the 3 years that followed, I did not work and so I did just that. I attended a Tuesday morning study group and got to know different ladies, and made some new friends. Then in 2004 my work authorization came through and before I knew it Richard found me a half day job at the local newspaper. Well that interfered with my Tuesday morning group and so I decided I would switch out for an evening group. No problem. So along I went. On this one particular night, the group that I had been sitting in did not arrive. So I figured that I would watch the video and duck out. While I was sitting at the table waiting this lady came along and said “Why don’t you come and join our group” Of course, you have to be inside my head – I don’t know you, I plan to leave straight after the video, in fact I do not know anyone at your table, I speak funny……and on and on my mind was going. I kindly thanked her and said I would sit at my table and if no one arrived I would join them. Meantime I am thinking…I’m outta here.
The lady’s name was Beverly and she is the dark haired lady in the image below. Just as I was about to sneak out, she came over and re-iterated the welcome at their table. Caught now, the sneaking out was not an option, and this began the beautiful journey of love, and friendship with these amazing ladies.
Each group has a facilitator that directs the conversation and watches out for gossip and asks the questions and encourages and loves on all the ladies in the group. Little did I know this evening how much those ladies would all come to mean to me, and little did I know that one of those ladies would touch my life in such a profound way, that makes me want to get on my knees each day and thank my Lord for the beautiful blessing in my life. This is my friend Midge.
How do you begin to share how much a person means to you. She reached out to a woman so much younger than herself, and formed a bond that I believe will have lasting repercussions in my life. She helped me to grow into the person I am today. First of all she showed me love – love of a friend, love of a mother, love out of the very depth of her heart. She grew in me a love for her that I feel cements our lives. No matter how far apart we are I know that my love for her will remain.
She was my go to person when I struggled with things. I can think of 2 people other than my mother, whom I could go to when I struggled. Whether it was family issues, work issues, friend issues, or any other issues. I knew that when I went to her, it was a safe place. It was a place where I could open my heart and voice my fears, It was a place where tears were cleansing and I knew that there was no judgment. Midge had learned the art of listening. Very rarely would she tell me what to do. She just let me talk, let me pour out my heart. And in her wisdom, she would re-direct my thoughts to scripture. What does Mark say or what does James say, or even Paul. Or she would head into the old testament.
She was my mentor in life. I loved how she came alongside me and encouraged me to walk alongside her as a group facilitator. And when she felt it was time for her to step down, she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and do for others what she had done for me. Never did she leave my side. I loved the years that we were in the same group together. Times change, and Midge and many of the ladies that I had been in a group with felt that it was time for them to transition to the morning groups. None of them really wanted to drive at night. The loss was palpable but the friendship remained.
She was my theology discussion partner. I loved talking theology with Midge. We did not always agree, but we always agreed to go and do some research and then come back together and talk about the answers we had found. I loved that I was able to think outside the box and have a safe place to voice those thoughts, to discuss them, and to ponder on them. It was always such a pleasure to go to her home just to sit and talk. There was always a lively discussion and a meeting of the minds.
Midge is a beautiful soul with a heart of gold. I am thankful that the Lord brought her into my life, and that for the longest time she has stayed. Her life pathway is now on a different route. She has moved closer to her daughter, and her granddaughters. I am so happy for her, but I would be lying if I said I am not going to miss her.
Thank goodness for Skype. I look forward to the days when we can “chat” and share our friendship through technology. Along with my family, she has a portion of my heart and always will.
Midge, I love you. You bring joy to my heart, and peace in my soul. Your smile radiates your love. You are a blessing in my life that I had not expected and you mean the world to me. You are a really good example to live by. I hope that I can continue to give back in the same way that you have given to me.
A true friend knows your weaknesses
but shows you your strengths,
feels your fears
but fortifies your faith,
sees your anxieties
but frees your spirit
recognizes your disabilities
but emphasizes your possibilities
~William Arthur Ward
Thank you for joining me for this month’s 30 Minutes in Life. This is a circle blog. Please take time to visit my friend and fellow blogger Hayley Hay photogrpahy/Lausanne, Switzerland and see what she has for you this month. I love seeing Hayley’s beautiful photo’s of Switzerland. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.
30 Minutes changed their name to Journey to an Artist. If you want to know more about Journey to an Artist head over to their Facebook page, or to the blog page. There is new and exciting happenings going on with the group Journey to an Artist that you are sure to want to check it out.