By Deborah Hackett
As fall arrives and many breathe a sigh of relief from the heat and the mosquitoes, we turn our attention to gathering wood for the fire or savoring that first Pumpkin latte while inhaling the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg and all things related to pumpkin or apple. The more organized among us get to work planning Thanksgiving or Christmas.
As fall arrives, I grit my teeth. This time of year marks a very sad season in my life and it has often overshadowed the joy of sipping that latte on the screen porch while soaking the majesty of creation displayed so colorfully.
This year though, I have a new tactic. It’s called thankfulness. Instead of focusing on all I lost at this time, I’m going to put my thoughts and actions into friendship. Let me tell you why…
Once upon a time there lived a perky English girl and her fighter pilot husband. They moved all the way from England to live deep in the heart of Texas, in Fort Worth. This was especially exciting as they were just months away from having their first child. She came along and life was amazing. To add to their joy, baby number two began growing (a lot sooner than planned but nobody minded). Then one September day there was no heartbeat on the sonogram, and just like that, the hope of a life was gone.
But God was bigger than the grief and the shock that engulfed this little family. He sent a friend named Lisa along to show them what love looks like when words will not suffice. So on her birthday of all days, this friend spent the day not being spoiled or pampered or celebrated, but caring for my toddler while I had surgery to remove what was left of this little spark of life.
Fast forward a number of years and this older English girl settled in Virginia with her husband and two gorgeous girls. Life was good, amazing even. Not without the challenges of a busy life, husband who travels and the Elementary aged years, but still, a truly blessed and wonder-filled time.
Then, again on Lisa’s birthday came the 0330 phone call from the Middle East telling our heroine very abruptly that her big brother was in the morgue following a massive heart attack. Again the wave of grief took her out at the knees and compressed her lungs, reducing her heart to a caged bird, fighting captivity.
So I thank God that this day when my heart was broken and my husband on another continent that I was hosting a Ladies Bible Study. I thank God for those women who came and loved on me and sat with me and prayed for me when I had no words. And then several weeks later when it was time to lay my brother down, Lisa from Texas came and cared for my children while I traveled to England for the funeral.
This is what friendship looks like. It’s caring more about what you put in than how much you take out. It’s loving when it isn’t convenient or easy. It’s when actions speak so very much louder than words.
So finally I have learned that when fall comes around it isn’t time to focus on what I have lost, but rather to appreciate what I have gained. The losses come regardless, but through this part of my life I have glimpsed love in action and so am trying to love others sacrificially too.
Deborah Hackett is a British member of ACFW’s Virginia chapter. A career radio journalist, she is now enjoying ‘making it up as she goes along’, something that the BBC frowned upon. Deborah lives just outside Washington DC with her husband Willy, a Royal Air Force Pilot and their two daughters. Deborah plays bass, teaches Bible study, loves to take road trips and ski.