“Fifi burst into the room where I had sat for a little while trying to get the gist of what it was I was reading” – She said.
She was filled with pain. She looked like she had been crying for days on end, “in a little bit of a rush” she said to me. Do you know any lawyers? She asked. I need some legal advice. And I don’t have much money. I need to find an affordable one.
I was a little confused. She couldn’t tell me why she needed one, except that it was very urgent she found one. I had gone through a divorce proceeding before so I knew how to locate one. Besides I was surrounded by many, so I suggested – she contacted the citizen’s advice bureau, on catford high road, and ask for legal aid. I also jotted down, all the lawyers on the south London area, and quickly laid my hands on a news paper I was reading earlier to look for any lawyers advertising their services.
After all my efforts, she left with all the information I had found, and her burden a little lifted. I started to wonder why she would need one, and for what reason. You see Fifi, was the best friend anyone could ever have, but we were never close. I knew her through a friend of a friend and also through that friend I heard that she was now married and had a handsome son.
The next day, Fifi came to me again, I smiled and said to her, we need to stop meeting like this. She told me she was looking for a job, whatever it was she would do. I suggested we stepped into the MacDees next door to have some coffee and discuss her options. When we entered we were met by their care assistants, who told us they were hiring people for Wednesday nights. Fifi looked at me and said, “I want to apply”. I looked at her and replied, “I will join you”. She was shocked and said to me, could anyone of your calibre ever want to reduce her standards to help a friend. I smiled and replied; only the humble and secure in the Lord can. I am not proud, and working here doesn’t reduce who I am in Christ Jesus, neither does it have any influence on my confidence. I will join you, and donate my earnings towards your cause. She smiled a little, yet still refusing to tell me what had entangled her so.
Many evenings had passed, before I decided to call in on Fifi. I’ve never been to her house before, neither have I ever met her husband and son. I knocked on her door. She came to the door opened it, and let me in. She looked like she hadn’t been out all day, was in her night wear and her husband and son was no where in sight. She started to wail, and said, “My husband no longer lets me touch him. He is disgusted by the mere sight of me, and every time I go to him in our marital bed, he pushes me out and calls me names”. She stopped after that, and left the living room, pacing from one end of her house to the next. I didn’t have the opportunity to try and console her, she looked like she was on a one way destination to breakdown and there was no return from there. As the evening progressed, so also did her dementia.
I waited patiently, in her living room, not sure what else to do, the whole house was filled with darkness as she refused to put any of the lights on, so I sat in that darkness. She was no longer forthcoming with any more information.
As I waited I heard the front door open. Her husband stepped in, and with her son asleep in his little car seat. He must have thought she was alone in the house or no one was in. He lit the hall way light, I stood up from the chair I sat on, she went to greet him, he saw her and as he turned away from her, he saw me. I saw in his eyes, he too was filled with pain. He started to look at me intently, and could no longer hold the pain. He started to cry, a grown man crying. He started to walk again towards the door on his way out, and said to me – “ask her what she did. Ask her why she’s stained so badly. Ask her why her brother has refused to settle down, and her sister will never get married. Ask her what manner of family she comes from. Ask her, why she couldn’t come to me before”.
In that moment it all made sense. “She was raped by her father as a child along with all her siblings”. She was too ashamed to tell her husband. And only after they got married did she tell him.
I ran to her immediately, I held her in my arms tight and refused to let her go. She tried to wriggle her way out, and I refused to let her force her way out. I must have held her what felt like forever, when she finally spoke. In her pain she asked me “what manner of person are you, and why will you not let me die in my pain. I’ve only heard and met you a few times, but I’ve never known you. Yet you decided to trust me and stick with me regardless of whatever my situation was. You have been a good friend to me, never asking me questions, but always going out of your way to help me”.
I didn’t know what to say, and without thinking, words started pouring out of my mouth, as if someone was speaking through me. I reminded her of how precious and important she was to everyone and more importantly how much God loves her. I said to her “that the only mistake you made was not telling him about your past”. By this omission she had broken his trust and the peace that he had. What infuriated him more was the fact that she could not trust him enough and be open about her past before they got married. He wondered if she was unable to tell him about this, what more could she be hiding. These thoughts continued to fill his mind and the only way to show her how much she hurt him was to taunt her with it instead.
She had come to me for legal advice because she was going to bring her father accountable for what he did in a bid to save her marriage and regain the trust of her husband. As he went out to try and get away in his car, something constrained him. He could no longer move but weep in the car for the innocence of his wife that was lost and how the pain of her past was now trying to ruin his once blissful marriage. This night was the first night he had said any words to her concerning how he felt since that fateful day she told him. He braced himself. Carried their son back into the house and said to her – “my peace have gone. And I have no way of ever getting it back”.
I realised, I was brought into that family, into that situation for such a time. And that the only way to be an effective friend in such situation is to let them ask for your help. The first time Fifi sought my help was the first day she came to see me, but I had to wait until the right time to be effective. Yet the Lord had brought our paths closer ten years previous for such a time. People come into your life for a reason and for a season; only in that season can you bring that needed change. I was brought into Fifi’s life for ten years, but was only needed to be effective after many years had passed.
Fifi and her husband were able to work through their problems because God was able to use She, who made herself available to be used. We must always make ourselves available to be used by God in our everyday life. Fifi never really knew much about She, but when she had no where else to turn she remembered Her. Her relationship with God was the gist of their crowd, and Her refusal to compromise was the talk of their circle. And because of the way She lived, God used Her to be effective in bringing closure and much needed healing to Fifi and her family.
So I ask you today. What kind of Christian are you? And most importantly, what manner of friend are you? Can God use your life to bring healing, restoration and hope to those around you?