Monday, December 14, 2009

The Gift of Friendship

When Winfred McMullen came to Everett to pastor our church, he brought me a gift -- his daughter Sue. I was five, Susie was six.

I have such sweet memories of the hours we spent together. Often, after the Sunday evening service while the parents were standing around chatting and the kids were playing freeze tag on the front lawn, we'd cook up a scheme to stay overnight with one another. Staying at Sue's meant that we had the run of the basement, which was the church's fellowship hall, with our own kitchen and bathroom. Pretty heady stuff for a couple of grade school girls. It also meant getting a peek into the lives of older girls, as Sue had two teenage sisters. If we stayed at our house we'd play in the play house (a converted chicken coop, probably 6x10, that I was sure could be divided into two or three rooms) and spend at least half the day playing Monopoly.

I remember Sue with her baseball mitt on the nights that we suspended CYC for a softball game at the local elementary school. She was born to play ball!

Sue loved to sing and had a nice alto voice. We joined up with my brother Tom and his friend Dave and formed "The Cadet Quartet." (Our church's midweek children's program was called CYC, short for Christian Youth Crusaders, a program similar to Scouts. Grades 4-6 were called Cadets, hence, "The Cadet Quartet.") Sue,of course, sang alto and Tom sang tenor. Dave and I sang soprano. The group disbanded when Sue moved away in seventh grade -- by then Dave had become a bass! I believe our repertoire included only two songs, but, boy, did we have those two down.

When it was time for me to go to Campus Preview at Seattle Pacific, I arranged to stay in the dorm with Sue and her roommate Kathy. After breakfast Saturday morning Sue sat at her desk and systematically polished off her homework, closed her books and was ready for some fun. I was dumbstruck! In all my life that approach had never once occurred to me. I still pull out that memory and examine it when I need inspiration to get my work done before the fun stuff.

She and Rod married in 1974. Her friend Lola created two enormous banners for the sanctuary with the words of Jeremiah:29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope." I have loved that verse ever since.

After many years with only occasional contact, Sue and I are once again in the same vicinity. She and Rod live just a few miles away, where they built a lovely home that includes a wing for Sue's mom.

In November she had a shock. She awoke to some numbness in her face and hand and before the week was out she was experiencing major twitching. She had developed a very fast growing malignant tumor on her brain, just above her right ear. It was removed and she is making amazing progress. But because of the aggressive nature of the tumor she will begin radiation and chemotherapy this week. It will be late spring before she finishes all her treatments.

Please pray for her as she goes through this process, and pray for her mom and Rod as well. She says the Lord has been faithful in seeing her through, and she knows He is going to be just as faithful in this present battle.

No comments: