One year ago today, January 11, 2014, Suzi and I rushed to be with a friend as she faced one of the darkest and most painful days of her life. During the early morning hours lightning struck her barn. The entire barn burned and took with it all of their precious animals: twelve horses, eleven cats, and their newly adopted dog. I wondered how Atha and her husband, Carroll, would get through this. Just weeks prior to this, a drunk driver crashed into their truck while they were out on a simple get away date around town. The truck was totaled but luckily they both walked away with their lives. Scary; how in an instant we are forever changed. We are never guaranteed tomorrow.
Joined by two other friends from high school, Debra and Patty, I sat in Atha’s living room that day overwhelmed with emotion. These three beautiful friends have faced some tough circumstances. How fragile our lives can be. In seconds our lives can change forever. How do we handle tough times? What do we do?
Debra had lost her home to a fire a few years ago. Also struck by lightning, her house was completely lost. All the things they cherished in minutes were lost to the flames. They lost their sweet family bird but Debra was thankful that no one in her family was physically hurt.
Tears falling from her swollen eyes, Atha speaks from her painful heart, “What have I done wrong? Why did this happen God?”
Quietly, beside Atha, sits Patty. She holds Atha’s hand tightly. All of us searching for words of comfort, trying our best to comfort our dear friend Atha, we respond, “You did nothing wrong. God loves you… You’ll get through this.”
Patty too has a story, a journey. Patty has beat cancer twice but they had discovered it again and she was facing her toughest battles yet. And there she was comforting Atha. To me this is a picture of real beauty.
Yes, throughout our thirty something years as friends we’ve had our share of great moments, tears of joy, fun times, and beautiful moments. But we also had our share of pain and tragedy.
I’m so grateful I have my wife Suzi by my side, and these wonderful, strong friends Atha, Patty, and Debra. I love how we simply love one another through the good, the bad and the ugly times.
Sometimes the right words don’t matter, just simply embracing one another. Being there, praying, loving, this is all that matters.
New Years Day 2012, Debra shared a motto Life goes on. It wasn’t easy for Debra but day by day, second by second, life went on.
Christmas 2012 – friends gather to decorate Patty’s house – Griswold-style
April 2012 the birth of twin colts
We laughed with Atha that day and were so blessed with the beautiful you she is and will always be.
Debra and Patty too are beautiful you’s! How lucky we are to have friends. Love and blessing.
Life is beautiful, love it out.