Today I had a funny thing said to me while in a conversation with my sister-in-law on the phone and it cracked me up so much as our talks usually do and sent my mind reeling to the point that it made me think long and hard about life and the frailty of it. She was telling me about a recent surgery and she had gone back to the doctor for the stitch removal from the back of her neck. Now as a rule these stories of medical adventures are not something that I take joy in hearing about from most people. It isn’t that I am particularly heartless or uncaring, (although I have been told that Mercy is not one of my strong spiritual gifts) it is just that I get a bit creeped out by all the messy details, but I attempt to listen intently and nod in concern at the proper times. On this day I was paying close attention because my dear sister is dealing with an awfully frightening battle, one that I am prayerfully hopeful will be a conquest for the Lord which will reveal his mercy and healing power, so I am astutely interested in all the details, she is my husbands only sibling and has been one of my closest friends for the last 28 years. We have raised our kids together, been through ups and downs as families go, day to day crisis, jealousies and frustrations, good times and bad. We have had many times of rejoicing, we have been in ministry together (I secretly prayed for her ability to cry every time she walked into church, seems so caring!}, encouraging each other and telling each other the plain truth on most occasions. It has not always been pretty but, it has always been fun, we have laughed about all the ridiculous stages of our lives(this one being funny, thank goodness for cell phones in compromising situations), kept each others kids, stayed snowed in playing cards all day with our men and taken our family vacations to the beach. We haven’t always agreed but we have always eventually been able to talk it out and remain friends. We know more dirt on each other than anyone else, it’s in the vault and will remain until Jesus comes..we are buddies, com padres, friends and freinemies! To sum it up…sisters, she was there when I was missing my two sisters, I was her only one, even though only by marriage, she was with me in the delivery room with my third child, she made him a southpaw…I am convinced of that, needless to say… we are tight. So when she said that her stitches were so tight before the doctor took them out that “it felt like her pigtails were too tight!” it totally cracked me up. The visual was killing me and if you have ever had that problem, i.e. pigtails too tight, you can completely empathize with her. It took me straight back to when I was a little girl with pigtails and the awful pain, one that hurt your head all day long and it finally dawns on you after the headache that won’t go away, that it is the pigtails that are causing it. Then you have the decision to make…do you endure it or take down your hair and deal with the awful humps in your hair from the rubber bands? So you leave it up till you get to the safety of home and that is why it was such a funny thing to say..it was so childlike, so naturally plain and real. It was a remembrance that made me feel happy. Happy is what I want to be when talking to her about her situation, a hard one to stomach, yet she has handled it with all the grace and courage that I would expect from her. This is typical of her, strong yet frail on the inside, she will maintain this attitude of gratitude for her family and her Lord. She has much faith and she is a force to be reckoned with so good luck Devil! You’ll not win! Her precious grandfather who passed away a few years ago at just short of 100 years old, who by the way was just about the most quick witted person ever born, would often say…”bring me my flowers while I am still alive!” So to my precious sister, not just in-law but for real, here are your flowers, you are important, you are a valuable prayer warrior in God’s army and and a friend of great heart and love. The times we have laughed and they have been many will be some of my most sacred memories and when the day comes that we actually figure out how to be committed to our adjoining rubber rooms in the insane asylum, I know we will have many more, three square meals a day and all the rook playing we want. And eventually, which ever one of us that makes it to heaven first, be sure to find out where the best bathroom is! We have covered most of Tennessee, Alabama and the Gulf, that will be a new frontier for us. Seriously, we must always be prepared for anything! AHHH, middle age….ain’t it grand!