It Is Better To Have A Friend

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (Contemporary English Version)
9 You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. 10 If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble.

I’m shipping this painting to my friend Sharon today. We met in childbirth class 26 years ago. Our daughters were born within 3 days of each other. My daughter Sarah used to proudly say that Megan was her first friend.

It has been 22 years since Sharon and I have lived in the same state. Last winter she and Megan surprised me with an unexpected visit while they were in town. The years melted away and we basked in the warmth of our cherished friendship. Sharon may not have been my first ever friend, but she is one I will never forget…no matter how many years or miles separate us.

The title of my Painting is “Sharon’s Garden.” I am one of the flowers in her garden. Like any garden, God creates the flowers, provides the sun and the rain, and we are sent to tend the garden. It is up to us to pull the weeds, cut off the dead flower heads and leaves, and sprinkle in some plant food when needed.

I was planted in Sharon’s garden 23 years ago. I was suffering a pain that would not end. My body was so tender and sore that it hurt to be touched. I had two small babies and a house on the market. My husband was on a full time out of town assignment. I was in a pit so deep I couldn’t see a way out.

That is when Sharon pulled me up and planted me in her Bible Study. I was afraid to join. I had never done anything more than Sunday school, and I had never really read the Bible. How could I participate in a Bible Study? Sharon wouldn’t let me out of it, and God made sure I went every week. Sharon’s gentle relaxed manner opened up the joy of being in God’s word. God’s love began to rain down on me refreshing my soul and soothing my pain. The warmth of his wisdom shone like the sun and lighted my path. Sharon fed my spirit with her tender sweet friendship and gave me a safe place to grow and heal.

Are you in someone’s garden? Do you have someone to pick you up when you fall? Do you have a Sharon in your life that planted you in her garden? I hope so. If not open your heart and let God send a gardener your way.

Abba, Thank-you for Sharon! May you bless her with your love and renew her spirit every day. May you send her a gardener to nourish her soul as she has nourished so many others in her garden. Help each of us to find a friend in you! Amen

Julie Weldon

4 comments (Add your own)

1. Wendy Saathoff wrote:
Beautiful! (Both the painting and the message!). We too, our thankful for your friend Sharon that led you one step closer to knowing God and eventually our congregation. Thanks for sharing your gifts of writing and painting.

Wed, May 27, 2009 @ 5:52 PM

2. Janet Jahraus wrote:
Sharon was a sophomore in high school when I met her. The next year I had a baby girl, and my husband said,"I hope she grows up to be just like Sharon!" She was a quiet joy to have in class as a student.

Sharon knows how to 'tend a garden' because she has been blessed with a heritage of love in her mother and grandmothers. One of the smartest things I ever did was decide to join a prayer and share group. Sharon's mother is one of my share group sisters. Our group has been together now for 36 years. We share with others and we never know where it goes, but as with your tribute, it always affects someone's life in a positive way. It's proof positive that love and nuturing care is never a waste of time. God sees that it is always to someone's benefit. Thank you, Julie, for taking the time to share your gratitude. I'm grateful that she was there when you needed her most, and I trust that you will return the favor with someone else who needs it! Janet Jahraus

Thu, May 28, 2009 @ 8:45 PM

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