There are several in my list of friends and family who are suffering with illness; some serious, some long term and nagging, and others with the normal winter onset of cold and flu. I myself am struggling with a cold and am tired of carrying this box of tissues with me everywhere!

As I was praying today for a couple of my friends who suffer from illness for which there is no cure, just the promise of long term suffering, I was ashamed to have complained about this measly head cold. I mean seriously, how can I complain about something that will be gone in a few days when there are people I love who will likely never have relief from their pains? As much as I don’t like sniffling and sneezing, I truly have nothing to complain about; I immediately asked forgiveness for putting myself in the same category as these friends.

There is one friend in particular, who is in constant and recurring pain with several symptoms that I’m sure would push me into a place I’ve never seen her go. This Sister-Friend never stops living her life – and I mean LIVING her life. Sure, she shares her complaints and fears, but that’s what having friends is about! The one thing she doesn’t do is stop.

I told her once that I found her very inspiring, which she completely did not understand. Why would she? She’s like the energizer bunny – she just keeps going and nothing stops her. Today’s blog is a tribute to her – I hope she can recognize herself in this story, because I will leave her unnamed.

I got to know her because of her mom, who was a Marine during the Korean War. For several years she cared for her mom who had Alzheimer’s; pushing her about in her wheel chair, taking her outdoors on short walks, until this was no longer possible. Every day she visited her mom in the nursing home, loving and caring for her. I never had the pleasure to meet her mom, but through my friend’s stories, I developed a deep love and respect for her, and I cried deeply when she passed from this life into heaven.

My friend is a big-city girl, lives in a high rise in the heart of one of those cities where the trolley or walking is preferable to trying to drive in the traffic. Thankfully, the Lord has blessed her with the opportunity to work from her home, so on the days she’s feeling the worst, she can stay in those bunny slippers and no one is the wiser!

Nearly every day she walks the city and photographs the sights she sees as she and her shadow travel along. She finds pleasure in talking with the strangers she meets along the way, and occasionally treats a homeless person to a meal. Best of all, she shares her photographs and a description of her adventure with those of us who follow her on social media.

I’ve taken pleasure in reading about her international trips, and gazing at the wonderful photographs she takes of places I may never get to see.

Even when the pain has been nagging for several days, she still heads out for an adventure. And always in her story there is evidence of the joy and peace she finds as she walks her troubles away – and this is why I find her inspiring.

So, on days like today, when my head is throbbing, my nose is trying out for the lead fire-hose position, and my body just doesn’t want to move, I think of my friend and I know that if she can push herself to do the next thing, so can I. She simply inspires me to keep going, no matter what, and to do it with joy and peace.

Thank you, my friend, for being a blessing and an inspiration to me!

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:3-4

Photo by Lisa Fahrenkrog

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