:marked by unswerving loyalty
March 9, 2018…. a text: “Hey Love…in jackson hospital in montgomery. chronic heart failure they say. on lasix and will be here a couple days. going to bed soon please pray. docs don’t know why its happening. Let’s talk tomorrow if you can…i love you…”
Suddenly, coloring my roots didn’t seem important.
Earlier worries vanished.
I thought, “She can’t die. Not yet. We need more time together.” Quickly you can tell that it’s nearly all about me. Dolly and I don’t visit as often as we should but I need her in my life. Good grief– she is part of me.
I know praying and trusting aren’t congruent with worry. But, right now I don’t feel full of faith. In between my worrisome selfish thoughts I’m thinking of her precious husband, kids and grandkids and how much they need her to be healthy. (Bless me)
We were fellow Jesus Freaks and fast friends. Early on, our appearances were quite different. She’d been a real live hippy and I was just a dime a dozen “good girl/ people pleaser”. On the inside—both of us were lost without Jesus. Being wired so differently, it’s a marvel that we’re so close. Dolly’s a natural born leader; I’m more of a follower. She’s a risk-taker; I appreciate sameness. She was the confident one; I was great behind the scenes support. It’s amazing and wonderful how God weaves his family together.
We attended the University of South Alabama at the same time. She stayed on campus and I lived at home, since I’d grown up in that city. I spent many a night in her dorm room because how cool and independent was that!
Dolly’s dad was in the Air Force so she’d travelled the world. I travelled with my family in the south.
She was generous. I wore her clothes all the time. I don’t recall her asking to wear mine. Ha. She had nice stuff and shared it with me like it was ours.
Dolly was in both of my weddings. The one that happened in the seventies didn’t last, as much as I tried. She stuck with me while I navigated my sorrow and grief.
I was alone with my young son when I was nearing the delivery of my second child. Dolly and her husband invited us to stay in their home. It was a good thing, too, because my water broke in the middle of the night! Along with other friends, they got me to the hospital and Dawn was born pretty quickly.
Sometime later we realized that Dawn had severe cognitive issues. Dolly spent days making phone calls, searching for answers, while I taught school. She told me about a special resource, Magnolia Speech School, that would help my daughter. I quickly enrolled Dawn and it proved to be perfect for that season.
When my wonderful second husband came along, Dolly threw us a beautiful engagement party, helped me decide on all the wedding apparel, and of course, stood beside me during our vows nearly thirty-three years ago.
Awhile back Dolly called me just to chat. In a few minutes tears came to my eyes. I’ve known her most of my life! It’s a magical thing to openly share your life—to be yourself, tears and all. It wouldn’t be my first cry with her or my last. Once, after a reunion with friends, she heartily congratulated me for not crying excessively.
The longer I live, the more I cherish relationships. What else is there of value? They’re richer than a decadent chocolate dessert and more beautiful than a breathtaking sunset over the ocean.
“My times are in his hands” (Psalm 31:15) is a phrase that has brought much comfort through hard times. I’m comforted, knowing God’s unimaginable Love. What more can I ask than to know He’s holding me? He’s holding Dolly and He has authored each day.
I’m praying for Dolly’s heart to heal; the other alternative is a transplant. We don’t know how many days are written in His book for us—she could outlive us all! I woke up in the wee hours and thought, “If I die soon, I hope Dolly knows she’s welcome to my heart.” I have a feeling our hearts are compatible.