Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Blessing of Friends

An impromptu party to celebrate May, life and friends. Lori front and center, beautiful!

When our oldest children were infants and toddlers, we formed playgroups. Young moms need to be with other young moms to share the journey, joy, troubles, questions and fun of raising children. As our family grew, it became harder to spend as much time with these precious girlfriends. Playgroups dissolved as we moved to the school yard, soccer fields and basketball courts.  A mom's daily duties of school, activities, homework, household and husband takes every moment of each day and time for mom seems to get put on the shelf.

Until Monday.

Monday, April 30th my dear friend Lori sent out an email saying-"Last minute May Day party, tomorrow, on my back deck." My first thought was 'how can I go?' My second thought was 'I want to go, I need to go, I have to go-I so need to see Lori and be with my friends.' So Bob handled dinner and the kids and I got a couple hours out catching up with the precious women that have surrounded me for the last 15-20 years, most of whom I don't see nearly enough. We used to talk about potty training, pre-school and parenting and now the conversation turned to driving cars, college choices and careers.

When I walked up the driveway to Lori's back deck, I just grinned from ear to ear. It was Southern Living Beautiful! Pots of flowers everywhere, pastel table cloths, rainbow umbrellas and a beautiful pink and green beach chair. Lori was the prettiest one there, in a new dress, her blond hair flowing and a million dollar smile. She greeted me and each of us, as if we were the only one there, with eyes of gratitude that pierced right through.

Lori gathered us together, because she was feeling good that day. She recently was diagnosed with cancer and is now undergoing chemo. Yet through this illness, she is teaching us how to live. And not just marginally live, making it through difficult days, but to live with joy and beauty and friends.

Thank you God for the gift of Lori. Thank you for her precious example and glowing vessel of your grace that she is. Thank you God for friends.  How humbled I am to know that even though I haven't reached out as much as I should have over the years, great ones, like Lori, always reach out. Lori, you are just the BEST!

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There are no coincidences in life. The party was thrown on May 1st, the first day of the month of Mary, our Blessed Mother. I know Our Lady is watching over Lori and her family, putting her mantle of protection around them all. She stands with Lori and with each of us at the foot of our crosses, just as she stood at the foot of the cross with Jesus, silently interceding and being there to comfort. Mary never loses hope and never leaves us in our hour of need.

May 1st is also the feast of St. Peregrine. St. Peregrine was fourteenth century priest who was miraculously cured from a cancerous growth on his leg, the night before his leg was to be amputated. He is the patron saint of those with cancer.

And so Lori's special party day had many layers of meaning.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
St. Peregrine, pray for us.

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