In Honor of True Friendship

by Feb 6, 2019

Loss of a True Friend

On February 7th, 1979, my beloved child, Charissa died, a victim of SIDS.

Since that day, many I loved have died. Tragically, the arch enemy cancer has stolen the lives of many of my friends and family, including my grandmother, Aunt Winnie, Aunt Rene, my mother, my brother-in-law, LeRoy, and my precious brother Lea.

You must be wondering where I am going with this. Today my heart is heavy. I have learned my precious friend, Melanie, lost her valiant fight against cancer.

A Compassionate Life

Meeting Melanie at Reasons to Believe – in a course on astronomy – changed my life. Melanie was a gentle lady with a passionate love for Jesus, for others, and for astronomy. She also loved to learn, to explore, and to challenge the status quo by asking questions, rather than just accepting things simply because the Church said that was the way things were.

What’s my point? Many Christians are passionate about a belief they have. The difference with Melanie was her passions made her more alive, more compassionate, and helped make this world a better place.

She didn’t get on a soap box and preach at people or demand people change to fit her beliefs. Nor did she reject or judge you if you chose to believe differently than she did.

Because of her, I found freedom to explore the whole subject of Creationism without feeling like the foundation of my faith was disintegrating.

Acceptance and Courage

As I grappled with a new belief system, Melanie affirmed my dilemma and helped me explore points for and against the Young Earth belief that God created the Universe in 6 days. But she also gently encouraged me to step outside the box and explore the possibility of the Old Earth theory.

Because of her courage, I was able to come to the table with an open mind, willing to learn, unafraid to explore and ask questions, and unthreatened when my favorite belief crumbled to ashes. My life is richer and more grounded in truth because of Melanie’s friendship.

One of the secrets about the beauty of Melanie’s life is she was a true friend. The litmus test of genuine friendship is a true friend allows you freedom to be who you were created to be.

She (or he) does not judge you or demand you think or be a specific way. She doesn’t demand you perform or jump through hoops to make her feel good. She allows you freedom to think, encourages you to ask deep questions, and supports you as you make choices – according to truth that resonates deep within you.

Let me clarify the difference between being a “friend” and being a true friend. A “friend” can make you feel good in the short-term but in the long-term isn’t trustworthy. One day she (or he) will walk away, and you will be diminished.

A true friend gives of herself or himself and there is a flow. Gratitude is always the fruit because true friendship enriches.  

I am deeply grateful for the conversations Melanie and I had as together we grappled with different topics that many did not find acceptable to question. I could speak without fearing rejection or criticism. Melanie loved me without conditions and provided an environment conducive for us both to grow.

The other day I sat down to write Melanie when I learned she was in hospital. I had heard a tape by Roger Forster, who had been my pastor when I lived in England, and knew she would enjoy it too. Roger said Genesis 1:14-19 – when God created the sun and the moon – is when Time began. That made total sense!

Scientific evidence shows the Earth is billions of years older than the Moon. If time didn’t begin prior to day 4, then the Young Earth theory could not be true! I laughed and immediately wanted to talk with Melanie.

Please don’t stop reading yet. Today, Melanie is with the Lord. She is face to face with Jesus, the Friend who sticks closer than a brother.

She knows the truth about whether God created life on an old Earth or whether He began with a young Earth in Genesis 1. I have a feeling when she met Jesus, they chatted about that. I can see her throwing her head back and laughing with delight when she learned which it was.

So, what’s my point? You and I would become far kinder and much more effective in communicating with others if we could forgive those who disagree with us and even laugh at what we staunchly believe.

The world would be a better place if we could learn to give grace instead of criticism or condemnation. The way Melanie did.

Sound good? Melanie, with a zest for life and a hunger for truth was a mighty warrior. She was deeply loved and she is precious in the sight of our beloved Lord, who has called her home.

Iron sharpens iron! I love you my dear sister. I am grateful you are with our Beloved Lord, no longer suffering; and happy day, I will see you again!

God bless you my dear friend. May the sweet fragrance of your life continue to touch many over the coming days and years.

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