Friendship is Another Word for Love

Relationships are important to all of us.  And these relationships become dearer as we become older, especially if we are blessed to have friends from long ago. 

One of my best male friends was my younger brother. He passed away after a three-week illness.  But during those three weeks, I saw him every day for the first two weeks as he and his wife came to stay with us at our home.  I chatted with him, we shared meals together, and I bought him slippers when his feet swelled so much, he could only walk a few steps. 

But the most memorable thing was he told me how he felt about me as his older sister.  Several times, I started to cry when he spoke from his heart.  But I choked back the tears because I just wanted him to keep talking.  He was always easy to talk with, and we shared a lot of things over the years.  He loved life and people and did so much for so many.  Not many men can share their intimate feelings out loud.  But my dear brother told me he was not afraid to die and he believed in God.  Those words gave me much peace. 

But (because of our theme of friendship) it was his living wake at my home that most impressed me.  Apparently, word got out that he was seriously ill and friends of the past and present started showing up at my home with love, hugs, food, and sad good byes.   He had no idea so many cared and remembered him and this living wake warmed his heart in his final days. 

So, I think of my brother and friend fondly every day. A few days ago at a church service, the priest read a short prayer by Father Mychal Judge, who died at ground zero on 9-11-2001.  He was an American Franciscan friar and Catholic priest who served as a chaplain for the NYFD.  His prayer has opened a new door for me, and I want to share it with you.  Because if we follow its simple words, we can transform ourselves along with those we meet daily.

Lord, take me where You want me to go, let me meet who You want me to meet, tell me what You want me to say, and keep me out of Your way.

Lent is a special time to make small changes in our daily lives.  Father Judge made many changes in his and I can only imagine how many lives he touched. 

Can you touch someone’s life today?

Mary Ann Petersen

An upcoming book titled, Mychal Judge: Take me Where You Want me to Go (People of God) coming out on March 31st highlights the spiritual journey of Father Judge. To learn more:

8 responses to “Friendship is Another Word for Love”

  1. Not more than five minutes ago, I prayed the printed prayer included in today’s reading. Serendipity? Synchronicity? No matter. I’m taking it as a sign for today!!

  2. My friend, you live this prayer. To be present for your brother and sister in law during his last days…what a gift you gave. In this giving, you received.

  3. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and prayer by Father Judge. I agree with Lynn and Ted. Your presence was a gift to them and to yourself. Blessings.

  4. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. What an illustration of love and friendship! Thank you also for the prayer! I prayed it and plan to do so every morning!

  5. HI Maryann
    thank you for your words…..during the living wake i had asked your brother what he was thinking (as he was just looking around with a smile on his face) he said he was humbled by the love he was receiving. I told him he was an amazing man and friend.. your gentleness, sense of humor and compassion is why we all love you. He stated……. i never knew how people felt about me (and then he hugged me). he left his mark on this earth now he is our angel in heaven watching over us.

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