A Better Hug

My friend Judy's hugs have changed.

No longer the brief squeeze we typically exchange, she now holds on tight, and whispers words of encouragement and affirmation in my ear. When we speak her face reveals that she's cherishing each moment, each conversation, each laugh a bit more than before. Judy has cancer. The prognosis isn't good.

Recently, from across the room during a church service I spotted my friend. Radiating a smile, she enthusiastically sang and honored her God. Judy is ready.

I'm taking notes.

Several months ago the doctors offered her the opportunity to test a new drug for cancer. The medication has offered her more time. She has accepted the cancer without complaint, grumbling, or self-pity. Judy has inspired me to hold on to life a bit more loosely and to "keep the main thing—the main thing." And to see people, really see them.

Last month I was speaking at a women's conference when a woman came up to me and said, "I enjoyed singing next to you during the worship time yesterday," and then she sat down a few rows ahead of me. To be honest, in my frenzy to accomplish tasks, I hardly noticed her sitting next to me the day before. Now I realized that joining voices together meant something significant to her. And as the worship music began to play, I got out of my seat, walked over to her and put my arm around her waist. United in song, we once again praised the Living God together.

But it was more, much more. I saw this woman—really saw her. And God immediately gave me a supernatural love for this stranger. My soul whispered, "This is the abundant life, Jesus. Right now, this love is true living. Thank you for helping me to see this woman."

I'm in a different season of life than my friend, Judy. No storm is raging today. However, I want to learn from her tsunami. And hug a little tighter and longer—like Judy does.

Copyright © Laura Petherbridge. All rights reserved.