After a couple weeks of a pinched nerve problem in my upper back, neck and shoulder flaring up and causing hand and arm numbness, today it was frustratingly worse. Then the day took an interesting turn. A friend who had obtained a free coupon for me last winter for a beginning consultation at her chiropractor, by “chance”, called. Though she is a dear friend, we have not connected in over a month, and she was not aware that my intensive gardening endeavors this June have left my right hand numb more often than not. However, when we DO find time to connect, it is real, and it is intentional.
Because she has been back to her chiropractor recently due to some back pain, she discovered that I had never gone to him. When she called today, she inquired as to why. I explained that, though I appreciated the coupon, I had not wanted to start something that I couldn’t carry through. I suspect the knots under my shoulder blades that have been causing problems for over ten years may be stubborn and require more visits than I can afford and my husband or daughter do some occasional and pretty skilled massaging. (And I have a wonderful chair massager, though it sometimes feels more like abuse!) She insisted that I go anyway, and if it can be helped by her doctor, she wants me to have a couple of her remaining prepaid visits. Now that is humbling.
A verse comes to mind that we just had in our Sunday School class yesterday while we were studying the ten commandments. Though the first four commandments are vertical and pertain to our relationship with God, the last six are horizontal and pertain to our relationships to others. The last six can be summed up in Mark 12:31 – “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
While I am always very grateful for my family’s help when I need it, I am also thankful to have a few friends who intentionally pursue this kind of love and are not afraid to drink deeply of friendships. It is not the first time a friend has shown sacrificial love and I find no greater pleasure than to reciprocate with encouragement, support, help or whatever I can. No matter what help I get or don’t get, it is nice to know I have those kinds of friends. Today, it lightens my step, or should I say, makes my neck pain and hand numbness more tolerable. Most of all, it reminds me I have that kind of God, who connects with me, personally, through my friends. He is the truest source of the best kind of love. He inspires us, and yes, commands us to love selflessly.