A Friend Who sticks closer than a brother…

I have a brother who is lost to me at this moment. Though as far as I know, he is still alive. I cannot call or e-mail him. Every card or letter I send never gets a response in kind. I cannot even confirm he is still at the current address. Given our financial circumstances, I cannot even hire a private eye to find him.  As far as I know, I have never so wounded him as to elicit this sort of cold shoulder. He shuns our entire side of the family. It wounds me deeply, but I keep his photo on my dresser as a reminder to pray.  While there is life, there is hope.

Family and friends, including myself in the equation, are prone to be fickle. So many chronically ill men have trouble maintaining lasting friendships. I am very, very grateful that my husband has a couple long-term friends who regularly call or e-mail him. Since much of the male psyche revolves around their God-given role as provider, it is difficult for him to relate to men even in our church. Conversations among men springboard from work-related topics.  For those who do not know, or just cannot understand my husband’s illnesses, there is a natural stigma involved with his inability to work.  “But you look so good!” This phrase is very, very familiar to those of us with chronic invisible illnesses.  Rest Ministries.org has documented this very well , as well as their sister web-site, http://www.invisibleillness.com.

Sigh! It does indeed take a very patient, caring male to befriend someone who is chronically ill. We wives have enough trouble with our patience levels, and we understand what our husbands’ struggles are more than anyone on earth. Thus, the verse in Proverbs speaks poignantly to this issue, “there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ( I need to look up the reference for you next time…). When my husband mourns the loss of social contact and the awkwardness in relating to other “normal” men, here is where I can encourage him with profound hope.  So many promises speak to the poor, needy, and seemingly forsaken.  “I will never leave you , nor forsake you.” I will hopefully send some more promises your way soon.  A blessed evening to you…

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