This friend of mine...she has cancer.
Actually, I have three friends who have recently been diagnosed with cancer. Breast cancer.
My friend, Judy, starts chemo this week.
We've been friends with Judy and her husband for years. Even tho we live in different towns now...several of us...we try to get together for dinner every month or so.
This month, we planned a "pre-chemo" dinner for Judy. We met at a restaurant in Little Rock. There are 5 couples...so, 10 of us...and I was SO HOPING that they would put us somewhere where we could have some privacy.
Jim and I got there first. The staff acted like they were going to put tables together and put us in the smack-dab middle of the big room. They appeared to be short on servers, so we didn't want to ask for a special room or anything. But, as God would have it, they started setting up a large table in a private dining room...and Marty was doing the happy, thank-you-Lord dance!
One of the girls in our group had asked us about giving Judy a little "happy" gift from all of us. She had chosen it, and wrapped it for us. Judy was really touched when she opened it.
All week, I had been thinking of something I wanted to do at the dinner. We always say we are going to take a picture of all of us, but we get busy...and then we talk until it is so late and we just can't stay ONE MORE MINUTE...and one-by-one, couples have to leave. I really, really wanted us to get a group picture tonight.
And I really, really wanted it to be cute and fun...and something that would encourage Judy when she looked at it.
I have this box of props left-over from Holly's wedding. My sister provided a photo-booth for Holly's wedding, and my part of it was to gather items to put in the booth: crazy hats, head-bands, glasses, boas, leis, masks, etc. I've added things to it over the years. I found this blank sign...the kind that you can write on yourself...at Hobby Lobby. I wrote "TEAM JUDY" on it in chalk paint. I was hoping we could use it, but I just didn't know.
I had this idea that I would bring that box with me for our group picture. Jim was skeptical, as we loaded it in the back of my car. I told him not to worry...that I would gauge the atmosphere of the group, and if it was somber...I wouldn't mention it or bring it out. But if I thought it would be okay...I would. He agreed.
As the evening wound down, the restaurant emptied...and we were still talking, I said, "let's take a picture!" And everyone said, "yes! We should!" I said, "I have a box of props out in my car." Someone said, "cool," but no one said, "WHAT A FUN IDEA...GO GET THEM NOW."
We kept talking and we started gathering up purses and to-go boxes. I asked Jim to go out to the car and bring in the box.
I don't think our friends knew quite what to expect...and they just looked at it, at first. I was thinking, "this is terrible...they hate this idea." But I left the box with them, and went to ask our waiter to take our picture.
When I came back, they were digging through that box like you wouldn't believe! My heart was so happy! Even one of the guys who said, "I wish you would just slap me in the face...I HATE THIS!" put on a fake mustache and some large glasses..and tried to look a little happy about it. Or maybe he was hoping it would disguise him enough that no one would recognize him! Ha! Either way...everyone participated.
Holly had given me her camera for the night. I asked the waiter, "do you know how to work one of these cameras?" He said, "OH YES...my sister has one just like that. NO PROBLEM!"
Tell that to the 5 pictures where you cut off our heads or completely erased people from the picture.
We had such a great time. It was a perfect evening. We laughed and we cried. And, after the picture, as we were fixin' to walk out the door, Judy's husband said, "let's do this one thing before we leave."
So even tho we had prayed for Judy before we ate, he asked Judy to get in the middle of our circle...and right there, in the Market Place Restaurant in Little Rock...we laid hands on her and prayed.
"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for with groanings too deep for words..." Romans 8:26