I wanted to post a wintery painting on my social media today since it's now December and when deciding which one, I realized it needed to be this one. Since I was a young girl, Dec. 1 has been a contemplative day for me. If you've had someone close pass away, you know what I mean. I awoke on December 1, 1974 to my dad coming into my room to tell me and my sister that my mom had gone to heaven that morning after her battle with breast cancer. Loss is hard on everyone, and being a 12-year-old girl and loosing my mom, one of the effects it had on me was to make me think that I didn't really need anyone, that no one is truly dependable because they can't always help being taken away. So, I am fine on my own - Me and Jesus. Well, that totally independent spirit might feel like it's getting me through the tough times, but it's really unhealthy. God created us to be in community as well as to have a relationship with Him. Through the last several years, that has been driven home to me both through experience and through studying God's Word and other helpful studies. As I've gone through many more very difficult times in life including divorce and the loss of every member of my immediate family, my natural tendency was to curl inward, tell myself I need no one, and just do things that make me happy on my own. However, I have become acutely aware that through every single time, there have always been people who showed me love, walked with me, and supported me. I honestly don't know what I would have done or been without them. We are not meant to be an island, as much as we sometimes think we are. My husband and I have devotions over coffee every morning, and yesterday's hit on this very topic. How timely, right? Here's a quote from it: "If I were the devil, I would do my best to corrupt every loving human relationship that I could find because love relationships point to the eternal love of God. If I could get people to the place where they have never known what love looks like, I could keep them from knowing that for which they were made. Then each of them would dwell in a loveless cocoon; they would never know the wealth of reality outside their immediate conscious existence." (Dennis F. Kinlaw, This Day With the Master) My friends, relationships can be messy, they can be hard, but they are worth fighting for. Treasure your friends.
These footprints could belong to any two people walking together in the snow, but they must be pretty good friends to be walking side by side like that. The photo that I used for this painting is from a day several years ago that my husband and I took a hike after a fresh snowfall by Summersville Lake near our home at the time. After making our way down this tree-lined path, I turned around and was impressed by seeing our footprints and took the photo of them. Our marriage was new and we were so thankful for our second chance and redemption of hard times. That was almost 11 years ago now, and of course, we've worked through some stuff as any relationship does and it's been so worth it. This was the guy that sat by me every day of my cancer treatments and loved me - no hair and all. Not only do we love to hike together, but we love to do life together. These footprints are sort of a metaphor for life.
I hope this will serve as a reminder to be grateful for your people and a nudge to be intentional in spending time together. Also, during this season, remember that there are people going through tough times, people who are lonely, people who need a friend. Let's do our best to be the friend they need.