I rushed to my sister’s side as soon as I could get there. We’re sisters of the heart, not birth. “I must really love you to drive seven hours to see you.” I told my friend, Dolly. She’d recently come close to death from a viral infection that led to heart failure. (See https://tranquiliving.com/true-blue-the-splendor-of-friendship/.) Through the help of a caring friend, who just happened to be a cardiac nurse, she was admitted into Birmingham’s UAB Extreme Heart Failure Unit. At first, the attending doctor had little hope for her survival.
It was the afternoon of her fifth day there when hope appeared in her room. Dolly and her husband, Jack focused on the doctor standing at the foot of her bed. Moments earlier, he’d agreed to the procedure Dolly requested—a defibrillator/pacemaker to be implanted in her chest. The procedure could extend her life.
Dolly—my friend of forty-five years. When you’re young and nonchalantly making friends, you don’t think ahead to what a friendship might look like in the future. You can’t know how intertwined you’ll be or how deeply you’ll care for each other. You acquire similarities and private jokes from your steeped hours of companionship. I’m mostly a compilation of my relationships plus the Grace of God.
Dolly and I remembered how people, through the years, often asked if we were sisters. My husband even confused us when he and I first met. Then, it happened again in the hospital! “Are you two sisters?” We smiled and said, “Yes”, and told our story.
When our son John was about to be married, I called Dolly and said,” I don’t think I can get ready without you.” She answered, “No, you can’t, I’ll be there!” She did my makeup and hair just as she’d done for my wedding many years earlier. The wedding was beautiful and I never worried about how I looked.
At UAB, I was with Dolly for four days. I was privileged to be present when the doctor, who first had no hope for her recovery, said she was doing great and would soon be released!
Rather than drudgery, as it sometimes seems during hospital visits, my visit was a pleasure. We reminisced and caught up with each other. We gathered around, held hands and prayed with Jack and close friends. We shared together deeply and believed God would grant what we asked. A sense of peace washed over me, and felt like I was on holy ground. Our talks and prayers were weighty, authentic, and heaven-focused. I could exhale and relax, knowing everything would be alright. Whenever I prayed for Dolly, I kept hearing the word immortal.
immortal: living forever; never dying
I had a mental picture of our lives as ceaseless journeys from birth throughout eternity. You could say we live a few minutes on earth before our forever home in Heaven.
Billy Graham famously said about dying, “I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address.”
Our faith teaches us to pray, believe and not give up. Jesus spent much of his time healing people, and He even said his followers would do greater things than He’d done. We continue to pray for healing as Jesus did. He is sovereign and He has the last word. We rest in Him and trust Him, knowing that we will not die, but live eternally with Him. Win-win.