What it means to be a friend

We all have that one friend who is there for anything we could ever imagine. They're our shoulder to cry on when we've just failed a Spanish test. They're a listening ear when we need to rant about life's frustrations into the wee hours of the night. And even if they're hundreds of miles away for Thanksgiving break, they're just a phone call away.

I am thankful to call Abby that friend. I don't like to refer to her as my roommate, because she is also my best friend and sister. And she's not just a friend to me, but to so many others. Even through her work, she touches the lives of so many. 

With every patient she interacts with she learns more about God's faithfulness, and I learn more about her patience and understanding toward others.

On a weekly basis, Abby interacts with all sorts of patients through her clinical work she does in school. One of my favorite things is getting to hear about her patients' stories when she returns.

"The majority of patients are not bitter about their situations, but rather they are thankful for the lives they've been given," she said.

Of course, some patients' needs are more severe than others -- some are there just for physical therapy, others are in hospice. But regardless of their condition, she said she sees how patient and faithful majority of them are. 

Through all these stories she shares, I get to see just how she has the opportunity to work with all sorts of people, and just how much she is willing to be a friend to anyone in a time when they may not have anyone else. 

"People come to the hospital at their most vulnerable time and the fact that they can still be thankful to God shows so much faithfulness."

And even if it's not over a long-period of time that she gets to be with her patients, she shows kindness in all that she does. In return, she sees just another piece of how God works in everyone's life. She sees that everyone's story is important. 

One day Abby returned from a unique, mind-opening clinical experience. It left her asking the typical question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

It all started with a board game.

"We met over a board game and he talked about his obsession with Pokemon cards and how good he was at soccer and math."

This young boy that Abby got to hang out with for a day came from a very abusive relationship with his father.

Abby and the boy played games over a conversation concerning Pokemon, soccer and math. In just that short time, Abby got to learn so much background about this boy. She got to experience his joy over all the little things. 

"He was like a normal little boy," she said. "We go in thinking these people are different but they're really not. They're just like us except broken in different places."

From the time she shared that experience, I thought about what it means to be a friend. 

Yes, we're all broken in different places. And sometimes we have friends who are broken in the same places, and I believe that's so we have someone to go through the pain with. Someone who understands. Someone to hold on to.

Other times we have friends who are broken in completely different places. These are friends that open our minds, shake us and share entirely different perspectives.  

Being a friend doesn't have to be anything elaborate. 

All it takes is a board game, right?