Closer than a brother

There’s a strange verse in the Bible that goes “..but there’s a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (proverbs 18:24). Yeah!

There was one day that I’d come back from work feeling exhausted- mentally and physically. A lot of  happenings from the recent past weighing down on me and the uncertainty of the future hovering over my head like a dark cloud. I opened the door to my room, switched on the light , and lo! the room lit up with very pretty string lights and a huge colourful handmade poster on the wall that had the lyrics of one of my favourite songs that read ‘ Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes’ . My eyes welled up and suddenly whatever weighed me down wasn’t so heavy anymore. I just stood there smiling and crying at the same time. That was the handiwork of a ‘friend who sticks closer than a brother’. She knew I needed some brightness in my life at that moment.

 

As a child I’ve read that verse so many times and wondered if I’d ever find a friend who sticks closer than a sibling, was the guy who wrote that entire book of Proverbs sure about what he was writing? Is that even possible?

Growing up with two siblings who’re quite close age wise , it’s difficult to imagine that kind of a situation. I always thought I’d have them forever no matter what, so there’s no place for this  ‘ friend who sticks closer than a brother’ right? I mean why would you need them? Where do they fit in?

But yeah then life ,as we call it, happened- then we went to boarding schools, we went to college and we’re working in different countries and continents. And then these people happen to you- the kind of people you can just look at in the eye and burst out laughing together, the kind of people who’ll eat the rest of your food if you’re not fast enough, who might just squeeze into your bed with you even though you’re really not considering accommodating them at the moment. They’re the ones you run to or call up when  you want to vent, who you’ll know will always lend a shoulder even if they’re bony and not so comfortable, the ones who’ll sing to whatever you strum on the guitar even if it is not tuned and then criticize you for it. Those are the ‘friends who stick closer than a brother’- the ones who’ll kill for you.

I’ve been blessed enough to have  a  few of those gems in my life as well, so close they make my biological siblings quite jealous I must say, and today when I looked at Whatsapp and people updating their statuses with pictures of their besties, and not so besties  and so on, I sat down for a bit in the middle of all the madness I’m regularly surrounded with, to just thank the Lord for the people in my life. The ones who totally make it worth the while. The ones I’d like to go all the way down this long journey of life with, the ones I can bug for eternity and not have to apologize for it- the people who stick closer than brothers/sisters.

And there’s one thing I know for sure- the reason we stick so close together is only because of a greater love- the love of Christ. His love compels us and without Him there is no love. He sticks to us the closest, no matter what.

As we celebrate friendship day and week and whatever else they call it , lets all take that time to thank God for those few precious people in our lives- the ones we can just be ourselves with. And lets look to Him – the source of all Love.

The Growth Chart

Have you grown lately?

When you ask a supposedly ‘grown up’ adult in her late twenties that question, it strikes a nerve. It’s definitely a different reaction from when I ask the  mothers in my clinic if their babies have been growing well. They smile, I frowned. My first reaction was ‘Uhm, excuse me?!…(mind goes blank….)’.All I could think was ‘ Well, I’m growing older and maybe a little heavier!’

So I sat down and thought through this and that’s what got the wheels in my head running and hence the beginning of this blog.

Celebrating my birthday recently, and falling sick immediately after, forcing me to be off work for a bit, gave me some time to think about the eventful past one and a half years. From being super thrilled and excited about being able to pursue a postgraduation in a specialty that is quite close to my heart in one of the best medical colleges in the country along with my closest friends, I was pretty sure I was right where God really wanted me to be at that moment and nothing could possibly go wrong now. That was the peak of all ‘growth’ at that point for me according to close friends and family.

Well little did I know that the journey was going to be quite a roller coaster ride. Over the past year and a half, I’ve struggled with tuberculosis, an ankle sprain, a heartbreak and most recently a really bad eye infection that visually impaired me for atleast  two weeks straight. Six months of daily medication and struggling with nausea and weird appetite patterns, almost a week of complete immoblisation because of pain and swelling on my ankle and two weeks of a near blinding experience forcing me to stay in the darkness of my room and now you ask me ‘Have you grown lately?’

Mmmm..my folks would say these are the things that retard progress, that set you back, that weaken your faith. “Are you sure you’re on the right track? Is this what you really want?”

But as I ponder over it, I must say I’ve grown and there is scope for more growth.

‘ Really?? In terms of what ?’ You ask me.

In terms of faith and trust in a most Loving and benevolent God.In terms of complete surrender to His plans knowing He knows best. In all the pain and confusion, at that moment  when I coughed out blood and even though I’m a doctor the best I could do was collapse into tears because it freaked the life out of me, when I felt that physical pain in my chest because of a friend who carelessly broke my heart and I couldn’t sleep for nights together, during the times when I was literally disabled because I couldn’t see ,let alone open my eyes to look at light, I’ve felt the loving arms of the Lord around me, His providence and His very Presence.

So yes, I’ve grown lately- Grown to increasingly trust and love this God who’s my Maker, Grown to learn to completely surrender my times into His hands, Grown to let Him take the wheel and Grown to rejoice in the Lord no matter what my immediate situations look like and I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s definitely been painful, but I believe I’m a stronger person because now I’ve nothing to fall back on except Jesus who saved me and that’s more than enough. I’m still in the process of growing, there’s definitely scope for more and I for one can’t wait to witness it myself.

So while I thank you for enduring till the end of this little testimony, may I ask you to think about it- Have you grown lately? What do you think?