She was lying on the ground when I found her.
Drop goes my jaw. Drop goes my heart. Drop goes my confidence. Drop go my knees.
I place my hand on her shoulder as I bend my head next to hers.
Her face is up against the carpet. Her eyes are closed, trying to tuck in her tears with no avail.
I find words: “Sarah, are you okay? What do you need me to do? I’m here.”
Her eyes open weakly, exposing the faint distress cry inside.
No words. I don’t know what to do.
I want to fix her. I want to hear her.
I put my hands on hers.
Silent, soft sobs enter the conversation as her weak shoulders subtly quiver.
I wait, feeling helpless.
She presses up with her arms, but she cannot get very far before she finds herself where she began.
Like moving through molasses, her hand presses towards mine.
I wish I knew what she was saying.
She holds my hand lightly and slides it to the side.
I don’t understand.
She presses up again, then wearily sinks.
Finally, I see. She wants to get up. Maybe she wants to move to a chair or her bed.
An awkward minute passes I shuffle and strain to lift her.
She is so limp.
We move towards the bed.
Leaning up against the wall, I notice the tears again.
Her face is filled with lament and frustration.
I reach over to her tissue box and accidentally hit her head on the way over.
A giggle escapes both of us, much needed comic relief in this all-too-serious moment.
But then the tears flow faster than before.
Her chin is resting on her chest, her body slumped over.
I begin to wipe away her tears when she stops my hand and presses it into her face.
I keep wiping when she does this a second time.
And then I get it.
I cup her head in my hands and slowly press it upwards.
She cannot hold up her head. She cannot breathe.
I lay there next to her a while.
In and out come our housemates: concerned, compassionate, and feeling helpless.
Sarah had weakness episodes like this before, but not to this extreme, not to this degree.
I switch my hand positions because they are getting tired of supporting her head.
I volunteer jokes to fill the silence. Maybe I should clarify that I volunteer my jokes to fill the silence.
Sometimes I got a faint giggle.
Other times I got a subtle look that said, “Not now, Debbie,” or “Really, you thought that was funny?”
We stayed there while I played music and monologued.
As the shock and urgency of the situation wore off, a to do list began to scroll through my head.
It felt quite endless.
A thought entered my mind.
Wait, Debbie. You can’t rush this.
In that moment, I understood something I hadn’t before.
Right here, right now, to wait is to say this time is not my own.
To wait is to say that Sarah is important.
To wait is to choose a soul over productivity.
To rush is to devalue her pain.
To leave is to forfeit our friendship.
Wait, Debbie, You can’t rush this.
Wait. That silly little word that bugged me so much my whole life.
I am constantly captured by the clock’s face,
Waiting for the carpool,
Waiting for a boyfriend,
Waiting for coffee…
The tick tock between life’s moments…
But now I see waiting differently.
Wait, Debbie, You can’t rush:
Intimacy in friendship
Growth and maturity
You cannot rush these like you cannot rush the fullness of God.
Drop go my knees understanding that waiting is for my heart.
For I could not handle it all at once.
Waiting is for my soul, for there is importance in the process, revelation in the endurance.
Wait, Debbie. Wait…
My dear friend Sarah wrote a beautiful song that captures some of her testimony and her wisdom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piXm1JWFxb8