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Do you remember when you first heard the mother-load of life lessons?

You most likely first rolled your eyes at this statement hearing it come from one you called parent. One whom you were convinced was put on this earth to bark out clichés, cause you to become dizzy from the amount of eye rolls necessary to respond to the one-liners, and make you do things that were totally “unfair”. Then to your protests of this blatant imbalance in life, they would firmly reply to you the relic of all clichés: “Life isn’t fair!” After they dropped that one, the mother-load of life lessons that they felt was their duty to impart on you would come rolling out of their mouths with ease and emphasis: “Nothing worth having comes easy”.

How many times have you wished to prove that wrong?

How many times have you tried to prove that wrong?

Ever try to take a short cut through the wooded area that is marked “No trespassing” and find yourself battling a massive walking wounded case of poison ivy for the next couple weeks? Walking around the forbidden path would have only taken 2 more minutes. In hindsight was it worth it?

As a student ever “share answers” with your BFF only to have to serve detentions, groundings, AND earn a zero that threatened your entire grade?

Have you tried that fad diet? That latest “sure to lose 10 pound” practice? Ever purchase those diet pills that promoted model-like physiques that were guaranteed to be THE quick result, and totally worth any and all side effects that might occur.

Try that “no work out, eat what you want and follow with this cleanse” yet?

How’d that work for you?

Staying fit and healthy in mind, body and spirit is HARD!!! There is no easy pill, practice, or drink to bring us to the best we can be. Only hard work and a commitment to want to be in that place.

As much as we cringe to say it, those elders who bellowed that phrase most likely had many battle scars and lessons learned to back up their belief in what they preached.

Today we are in what appears to be the quiet days of Holy Week. Kind of a let down from the “party like it’s 0 AD” celebration the city had upon the arrival of the One who was sent from God to change the world. On Monday was Jesus and his nursing headaches and sore feet? No, Jesus was up early with his BFFs in tow and heading to where his heart and spirit needed to be: His Father’s house. Upon arriving I’m afraid Jesus caused even more of a scene on Monday than He did on Sunday. On this day, this quiet Monday, while He was under watch by the ones who were determined to take him down, Jesus made sure everyone knew how He felt about those who did not respect His Father’s house.

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” ~ Matt 21:12-13

Jesus put himself on the fast track for His days on this earth to be numbered even quicker than they already were.

Jesus never took the easy path, He never did the “avoid eye contact so you can’t say you saw it” move, or the “I know this is wrong but I don’t want to upset anyone” approach. Jesus was always very clear: right is right, wrong is wrong and the way to Heaven is not going to be earned without a messy, challenging, scar producing, battle tried and tested walk. He came to show us that the entrance to Heaven, the “paradise” that He wants to share with us isn’t going to earned by saying “please” and “thank you” and punching your Sunday church going card.

You’re going to have to upset some tables, get your feet dirty walking the harder road, lose some friends, change some habits, push yourself to have the expectations of yourself that He has for you: to live in His image. Now that doesn’t mean to go seeking an opportunity to overturn some physical tables, though it does sound like a stress reliever. It means however you may have to turn down that offer to do that thing that you were feeling kind of unsure about, it may mean you have to have a face to face with that someone that you owe an apology to, or perhaps you have been representing yourself in one manner and carrying on a completely different lifestyle on the flipside. It would be easier to live a life of ease than it will be to live the life that will bring you to the face of God to hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. We are so very glad that you’re here.” We won’t get there by letting someone out of the parking lot before us, nor will we get there by going to church every day. You have to be the “church” every day. You have to live a life that is beautiful, pure and holy in the eyes of God. Living the commandments, especially the most important one as He stated: “Love the Lord thy God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.” This IS not easy, nor is how hard it is fair.

There is no pill, easy track plan or sofa-sitting method to stay fit and healthy.

There is no sign on the dotted line, profess your name as a Christian and enter into Heaven guarantee.

In fact Jesus was quite clear to tell the truly kind, good Christian wealthy man, who so badly wanted to be a follower of His, how hard it is: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven.” Wealth is not just money. Some have a wealth of time. Are you sharing it? Some have God given talents and gifts that could better the lives of those around them. Are you using them to help others? Some have funds that could meet a need of a neighbor within their reach. Are you offering that? You might be the one that has the ability to offer to fill some empty time by offering to drive someone to the pantry, pick up a prescription, join in a group that is helping offer the assistance of lawn care for a senior; mentor a young person who has been hurt by the elders that he has been given to; or lift the spirit of a very lonely senior who feels the world has not only passed them by, but truly forgotten them.

Choosing this walk is hard. Choosing to live to please Him and not others will ruffle some dove feathers. This life walk will upset some “tables” in your personal, financial or emotional daily life.

It isn’t fair that we have to work harder than we already are.

I promise you that when you commit to challenging yourself to rise up to what you were created to be, a beautiful reflection of the most perfect love ever created, it will not be easy, but oh my friend it will be worth it.

I committed to it years ago and haven’t got it right yet, however, I open my eyes every morning thanking Him for another chance to do it better and asking Him to walk it with me. I embrace Holy Week for the challenge that it brings and for the joy waiting at the end of it, and of the walk.

Wishing you peace,

Terri O’Neill-Borders


Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9


Stepping into Holy Week…Thinking out loud while I walk

This is the week I make every attempt to stop and be still. To meditate more, pray more, express more patience, kindness and love, and to be quite honest, just try very hard to put myself in the place where Jesus walked more than 2000 years ago.

We have movies that have helped us visualize that, a book that writes out the narrative and services (and more services) to help us stop, sit, and be still.

What if that is not enough? Write. Journal. Post. Bring yourself to a level of thought and prayer that you never have before. That, my friend, is what this Holy Week is for.   I’m putting my thoughts on paper to help me process all of the chaos that is going on inside of my head and heart. I truly believe if we offer the opportunity for God to fill our head and heart He will and I need to read what is floating up in there to possibly understand, process and practice it.

Day 1- Palm Sunday-Strength in the walk

Palm Trees are one of my favorite trees. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to get to travel through Florida. I spent much time admiring and standing in awe studying these creations of such variety of stature, strength and simplicity. Some palm trees can grow more than 100 feet in height, yet they have been placed in the threat area of the most massive, powerful, and destructive storm: hurricanes. How is it that the palm tree survives that powerful force of pummeling? If you’ve ever stood and watched a palm tree through a storm you will see that it bends a great deal. It is not unforgivingly rigid and is far from fragile.

Palm trees sway and bend, not allowing even the strongest of wind storms to snap them from their foundation. They signify a place of relaxation, peace and happiness, are simple in beauty yet superior in strength. Their branches/leaves withstand the most treacherous of conditions.

All of this seems so insignificant to spend time pondering, unless you remember what happened on this day….

More than 2000 years ago Jesus rode into Jerusalem greeted by countless “fans” who were waving palm branches in admiration, showing respect for one they “knew” was a gift from God. He was the star of the red carpet, the hero of the hour, the celebrity entering their corner of the world. He soaked it in, reciprocated the compassion, all the while knowing that the same crowds that were celebrating Him today would turn on him in a very short time. The same crowds that were shouting Hosanna (an expression of adoration, praise and joy) would soon be shouting, “Crucify him”.   He would endure the most treacherous of beatings. He would bend, bow, be pummeled, but not break. He would hit His knees in prayer, only to not have them answered. He would be turned in by his friend, denied by another, and abandoned by the rest. He would hold his tongue when He could have said so much to attempt to defend himself. He would stay the course knowing that in the end, in the very painful and brutal end, He would save lives by offering His own. I dearly love and respect quite a few men and women who live like that, and even more that I have never met. I see people every day hold their tongue and avoid conflict when they could shame another. I know there are those who have stepped in the line of fire to protect the life of another with absolutely nothing to gain. Have you been on the painful end of disloyalty, dishonesty, and betrayal? Have you known one to be nice to your face and talk about you, plan against you, secure your demise, behind your back?

I have.

I will again.

My thoughts today lead me to those times and it hurts.

My comfort today is that He gets it, and He has left me lesson plans on how to handle it.

Bend but do not break.

Appreciate and savor every moment, but know the next may be a trial.

Know that your pain, your trials, your storms are understood by One who has “been there and walked that”, by One who will never stop short of validating how important your life, your heart, your trials, and how hard the pummeling of life is.

Stay the path. You are not walking it alone.  You’re walking it in the presence of one who knows the grating strain of the journey.

He stayed the path knowing we would have the opportunity to set foot on ours with the choice to walk with Him. He didn’t walk His path to be celebrated; He walked His path to bring people to His Father and to what He clearly declared as “paradise”.

Today He was greeted and celebrated with what appeared to be an easy to acquire branch from what appeared to be an insignificant tree…..but as I stood at the base of this tree that embodied strength, flexibility, endurance, and simple beauty, and thought about this “today” more than 2000 years ago, I believe, once again, there was no coincidence.

This walk will require us to weather storms, come face to face with those who will deceive us, stand strong in the winds of deception and trials, and most of all, to bend but not break. We are not to look to be celebrated as we walk, but rather to be strengthened by the walk knowing that we have the choice to call on the strength of the One who walked it first to be within, around, and beside us, just as He did from His Father for His walk.

May we be more sincere, more truthful, more supportive, more compassionate, less judgmental, less short tempered, less unappreciative today, tomorrow, and through the rest of our walk.

Wishing you peace,

Terri O’Neill-Borders


Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

Not one more….one less

It is not just one more….it’s one less.

One less representative of good over evil.

One less spirit who believed in giving everything to what he was called to do.

One less brave soul who knew the risks yet didn’t hide from them.

One less person who was committed to bettering their corner of the world, defending and protecting those within his walk, going above and beyond the oath that he took to protect, serve and represent a department, a city, a profession that he didn’t just show up for he truly lived, breathed, role-modeled and owned.

One less who will run into danger when you are surrounded by it.

One less who will stare evil in the eye and set in place to defeat it.

One less brother in blue for those who worked alongside of him and who shared the calling with him.

One less husband to hold his wife.

One less father to come home to his daughter enveloping her with his pride, spirit and love.

One less returns home safely tonight.

Hearts break tonight for one more who has entered the gates of Heaven way too soon…


When you lay your head down tonight please offer up a prayer for Commander Bauer’s family and for every man and woman who wears this badge that does not spare their life but rather risks their life.  Sometimes evil snuffs out the good, but more often the good stand united and conquer the evil and make our community, our state, our country a safer place but only at a very true and real risk of becoming one less….



In the blink of an eye it is past…

Last week at this exact moment we walked away from successfully hand delivering fully cooked Christmas Dinners complete with deep fried turkeys and hams, Care Bags filled with items to fill linen closets and laundry rooms, and Goodie Bags with hoodies, books and bonus gifts, to 82 homes right here within our corner of the world.

For the 13th year what seemed like a grinding task that took everything I had and every single spare moment I could scrap from the day the task was complete the work was conquered not by one but by many, so very many for so many.

For the homes that found funds to be few, struggles to be many, and life blows to be relentless you arrived with hope and love in hand.

For the homes that suffered the loss of a loved one you offered comfort for body and spirit.

For the homes that were reeling from major health crisis, physical inability to pull together a meal or the lack of heart to even want to, you took the load off of their shoulders and lifted hearts of ones you have never met.

For the homes of seniors who were alone on Christmas you showed up when they thought the world had forgotten about them. You reminded them that they are in the hearts, thoughts and prayers of a friend.

You donated, you rallied donations, you provided the place for us to work, you cooked, you offered your hands, feet and hearts, and most importantly time, you didn’t question, judge or stop progress, instead you made it all happen. You brought hope to what seemed like a hopeless situation on a day that birthed hope and unconditional love.

And the thank you’s have been pouring in.

Thanks from those who have never seen such kindness, thanks from those who were dreading the day and you made it a dream they never dared to dream, thanks from those who had and have food to feed the kids for the two weeks they are off, thanks from those who were able to invite others to a table to share a meal because you took care of the cost they opened their door to a need.

Of all of the thanks I hope you hear and know of mine.

My eyes were opened to how painful the holidays can be when life ends, life changes, life takes the wind from you and I had a vision, heard a calling and allowed God to move me into place with the faith and trust that He would make it all happen and He did and He continues to do so every year and throughout the year.

You hear the need, you offer the help and you meet the needs. You allow Him to move through you as He moves through me and I know for a fact that here in this corner of the world in the blink of an eye the moment has passed but the feeling, the gratitude and the love has not. In the blink of an eye you brought tears to many, smiles to even more, and ripples that are still moving through homes right here, right now.

Let’s not wait until next year at this time to unite to make good things happen.

Need continues and will continue to be present within our arm’s reach and together we can meet it.

We can lift spirits, hearts and hopes.

We can nurture our youth.

Help those who have been knocked down.

Show up for those who think the world has forgotten about them.

And demonstrate unconditional love that doesn’t enable, rather it makes healing and forward motion able to happen.

May 2018 be a year full of ripples, of growth, of hands extended to pull one up and walk alongside of a friend giving them strength in their current storm and making them able to rise up to join us in making ripples.

Wishing you a year of peace, love and one blessed in health and happiness.

I look forward to working, laughing and walking alongside of you through 2018 ❤

With love and peace,


Next outreaches:

*Warm a Heart Lift a Spirit Sack Lunch Creating Event at Old Quarry Middle School on Saturday Feb 3rd 10am- donations of sack lunch items needed

*Give that Dress (Dress Clothing) a 2nd Night Out Sat Feb 24th 9am at Community Christian Church 102 Stephen St, Downtown Lemont- donations of Prom Dresses, formal clothing, and all dress clothing needed

Terri O’Neill-Borders




Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who
are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the
poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

Happy Birthday Dad

Dear Dad,

Happy 79th Birthday! It’s been 13 years since I’ve been able to wish you a happy birthday in person and boy do I miss that. You and our Irish taught me how to celebrate every day, but especially birthdays!!!

I know you are celebrating in the best of company tonight but I just wanted to let you know that you are not forgotten down here in the least! I miss talking to you every day. I miss your levelheaded advice and council. I miss your smile.

However, I very often shake my head at this time of the year with what you got me into! Hope and Friendship wouldn’t have started without you leaving the earth, and though it’s been a great way for me to put my hands, feet and heart to work living out the legacy you set forth, I do feel sometimes that it might have been easier had you stuck around and we could just sit around a table on the holidays wearing stretch pants, loving and laughing like I so should have treasured even more than I did.

I spoke to an older gentleman tonight, older than you are today, and your name came up. He was so very grateful for the offering of a Christmas Dinner. He enjoyed hearing the caroling (oh did you love to sing!) and he was very appreciative of the cookies (not sure if you liked to sing more or eat cookies more!). He lives alone and has no one to spend Christmas with. He was absolutely thrilled and expressed such gratitude to have a home cooked Christmas Dinner promised to him. In fact we will be delivering quite a few meals to persons who are alone on Christmas and that’s when it hit me that you are still here. You are the inspiration and my drive for what is happening. You were always the heart that never wanted to see anyone lonely, forgotten, or struggling. You reached out and touched the heart of everyone you met and did your best to treat them with love, respect and compassion, and for that I am thankful. I learned unconditional love from you and mom and am so blessed to be able to mark your memory here on this earth long after you have stopped leaving footprints, now you are just leaving heartprints and I have the pure blessing to see that happen.

So I guess for your birthday you received a gift even though I couldn’t personally give you one, you received the gift given in love of inspiring the giving of the gift of love. When I get the chance to sit down on Christmas night I know I will once again miss you even more but be so very grateful that your time on this earth inspired me, filled me, and set me forward to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus as I saw you do from my first memory of you, to my very last. Those are my gifts from you and I hold them so tight especially tonight.

Happy Birthday Dad. I sincerely hope you can see what your legacy is doing here in this corner of the world and I truly hope you know how proud I am to be your daughter who was filled up and sent out to make a difference by a man who didn’t talk the talk but passionately and purposely walked the walk. I love you more than written words can express, but you know my heart because it emulates yours.

Love forever and always, Terri

I will pray for you….

“I will pray for you….”

How often do you hear that phrase? Do you feel comforted by it or do you wonder the value of it? As a Chaplain, as a Christian, I truly welcome time of prayer. I pray constantly. When I wake, when I drive, when I have a non-chaotic moment, when I have a chaotic moment, when I eat, when I see my husband and my family, when I sit next to one who has lost a loved one or who has been delivered a very difficult hand, when I lay down at night, and because I know my brain fails to shut off, I am convinced I pray as I sleep. I am not a very good verbal prayer person, ironic for a Police Chaplain and non-profit founder, I know. I have had officers ask me if I was going to pray as we were about to walk up to a house to deliver a death notice, I told them I have been the entire time! I have said a prayer for a retiring officer that left the room questioning whether he was dead or retiring, even the retiring officer himself wondered whether he had heard his retirement prayer or eulogy.  I have uttered words in stutter, stumble and inept sentences. I have tried and failed to pray out loud, but know I have prayed for you, and countless, in silence and with passion.

There are a few times in my life that I have passionately and vivaciously prayed for one need, one cause, one request harder and more fervently than I pray for anything: when my father battled cancer; when a dear friend was at death’s door; and recently when my husband was thrust into his battle. I understand prayer and my relationship with God, it doesn’t mean that when I ask I get; this is not a Christmas List, this is life. My prayers may not have been answered in the way I would have written the answer, yet I know they were heard because life, love, and healing flowed forward. We live in a world that is of freedom of choice, a world where the devil walks, a world that though we may do good we may not feel favored.

This morning, honestly though the night and the many nights before, I was talking to God, again. We were to meet with the surgeon today and I needed to let God know, just one more time, that though I “wanted” one outcome, I understood that another may be our destiny and though I wish my husband wouldn’t have to suffer anymore than he has, if he was to, I prayed for strength, tenacity and endurance for the path we would walk, no matter what.

So many have texted, called, emailed, Facebook messaged and commented telling us you are praying. Some say it as a knee-jerk reflex because it is “what we are supposed to say”.   Honest it is work to pray. It is work to converse, and prayer is a conversation. It isn’t just saying words upwards it is sitting and being and listening and feeling. When you say you will pray you might as well say you’re going to come help and wash the windows.

A few years ago, as Terry and I drove toward Nashville for the birth of our second grandchild we received a text, there was distress at birth she was in danger.  We drove the remainder of the journey in painful silence. I texted my pastor friends. I prayed silently and fervently. I did what I had control of, and I did it with all I had to offer. When we arrived at the hospital, we learned that our granddaughter was able to battle through and recover (she is a happy healthy 3 year old fireball of energy). The night of her birth when we were laying in bed and Terry said to me “What happens to those who don’t have that prayer? Are those who don’t have an army to pray for them sunk?” Wow. What an astute question and feeling. I answered no. God hears the prayers before they are said and He sees the needs as they are presented. He is not sitting up in Heaven playing chess- rook for your queen; Baby A has 498 prayers offered thus saved, Baby B no prayers, come on home to heaven; Man named Joe has had a hard life I’ll spare him this battle, Woman named Jane needs to be seasoned a bit more she can handle this challenge.

God is not a God of games.

God is a God of grace.

We are a people of free will, free choice and walking in a world that is not Heaven.

Life is not fair.

We are not here for eternity; we are here hoping to earn our path to eternity.

As the martyrs and saints will tells us, some will be spared torture, some will enter heaven before us having suffered.

Jesus himself asked to be spared.

Does prayer matter?

My completely unprofessional and yet seasoned opinion: yes. Unequivocally, yes.

My father and my husband felt strength in your prayers. You cared to offer yourself to them. You cared to take the time to stop and talk to God about them. You invested passion and relationship into their battles. You were a part of this difficult chapter. You paused life for a moment and talked to God on their behalf.

Whether it ends in a blaze of glory or a crash and burn, those that are prayed for feel the strength of more than themselves and their God, they feel you present with them in the battle.

Today my husband was told he is cancer free. He didn’t earn it by a wild card, or an easy journey. He had a choice of three paths, he choose the hardest path because the outcome seemed to be the best option, if he survived the battle. He underwent a massive radical surgery that even the most skilled surgeon admitted today he does not like doing (yet he did it with such expertise and confidence). He battled through pain that I ached and was heartbroken to witness him struggle through. He has suffered physical repercussions and scars that will may not go away, but he was told today he was not being sentenced to more combat, but just to continue to heal from the battle he had ensued.

I cried. And I stopped to pray and thank God for the moment.

Did prayer heal him or free him from more suffering? I say it helped his spirit, it helped him feel stronger through the battle and the recovery, but I also tell you that we caught his cancer early. We didn’t sit back and let God “move” him, we moved leaning on prayer to guide us to the right persons and right path. He will tell you his wife drug him into the doctor on the first complaint of symptoms and drug him through at least 7 more doctor visits as we rode a roller coaster of indecision, surgery, and questions begetting questions. We found few who gave us solace and solid direction, and through all I prayed. At the cusp of decision, my husband was presented with three choices: let whatever happens happen, choose a path of a 10 week radiation treatment that might cause more damage to your body, or undergo the most radical and dangerous surgery option possible to scoop out everything in your mouth and neck possible hoping remove all trace of the cancer, if this doesn’t get it all, you will still have to do the radiation.

He chose the most difficult road. He gambled. Life is a gamble. The end result is death or life to continue for more gambling, more choices to be made. May our source of confidence and strength in our choices be the God who understands that we don’t know what the future holds we only have control over putting our feet on a path and walking it with confidence, asking Him to be by our side. He put his feet on the path towards being cancer free and walked it like a warrior, and today exited the Cancer Center hearing the words “You’re cancer free”.

As we walked out I looked at every patient in the waiting area and saw those who have obviously been through more than a battle, and who are far from the end of their battle, they are waging a war. I wondered, and hoped that they were wearing the armor of prayer. Though it may not spare them the scars it surely will strengthen them through the battle.

I have seen that to be true.

Thank you for strength, thank you for your prayers.

Continue to offer that armor, support, compassion and faith to all walking wounded. May you know the power of prayer, and if you need to know it may you be surrounded by it because then, and only then, will you be able to speak of it’s value and potency.

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” ~ Max Lucado

Wishing you peace, love, strength and many many prayers,


Terri O’Neill-Borders

The wait….

Torture comes in many forms. Suspense, action, and horror motives depict the infliction of physical torture in one-eye-covering format. Military, Police, Fire, and First Responders can tell tales of pain witnessed and felt that will abruptly make you cover the other eye.

Someone who has watched their significant other walk into the sunset with another can speak of experience of a heart wrenching emotional pain tearful pain.

Holding the hand of the one you have been riding shotgun with, awoken and laid down next to, lived, breathed and created 40 years of family memories and love with as they close their eyes for the final time will bring a tear to the most stoic of faces.

A parent who has closed the casket over the body of their child will tell you of a pain so severe that would make those aforementioned hardcore warriors bow their heads with a tear in their eyes.

Both physical and emotional torture can be understood and sympathized with by one who has never walked through it. A shudder, a turn of the stomach, a tear or a goose bump can be stimulated by simply the retelling of the story.

Yet how easily the mental torture of “the wait” can be missed, or left on the table, invalidated torture and duress. Unless you have sat on the other side of the door, with your two young children, awaiting the knock of the landlord who will come calling for the rent, with eviction notice in hand, for an amount to secure a basic need that you simply do not have. Unless you have begun your workday knowing at day’s end will you find out if you are one of the half of the workforce that will be laid off. Or, unless you sit in a waiting room of an ER slipping through the pages of a magazine seeing not, nor reading of one single word, for your attention is focused on the door that will open telling you if your loved one has survived or not.

I know so many of you understand the intense frustration when the most dismissed form of torture and hardship is often served with a side of a happenchance cliché: “God will provide” “He has a plan” “It’ll all be okay” “He doesn’t give you more than you can handle”, or the dagger “I know exactly how you feel” followed by the sharing of their story of something that is completely NOT the same and definitely NOT how you feel.

This note is for those who have wrestled with the demons that raise every hair follicle on your body with fear pumping through your veins for what awaits you next week, tomorrow, or when you walk through that door; for those with their phones by their side, cancelling all plans, holding your breath waiting for “the call”. The call that will give you a renewed perspective on life or reduce you to a heap on the floor crying out “why me, why now?”

My thoughts, prayers and love are focused on those who cannot make any plans for the weekend because they have no idea what the minute after “the call” will unveil. My thoughts and prayers are with the hearts that are so frailly woven with faith and an understanding that we won’t live forever and that our next moment is never guaranteed.

I find myself here once again and instead of being able to simply say I sympathize, I share with you that I emphasize and I want you to know that you do not wait alone.

I have found that God has walked with me through many a trial in my half century plus of life and those challenges I have found have not stopped me, but rather have strengthened me through grace, faith and belief that I am not here without a purpose.

I have found that though I would have chosen to not experience the pain, there has been another who has found comfort in my arms or allowed me the humble privilege to be the set of ears as they reveal their story knowing I will not offer a cliché or undermine their pain but have, and will, instead offered ears, eyes and a heart that demonstrate compassion from one that has earned “scars” and has crawled through battles as well and one who humbly and quietly bears those wounds earned to those that need to see them.

As gladiators ready for battle, we must too show our wounds, scars, and courage to those we can inspire and encourage. The One who goes into battle with us is the One who understands, shows, and has saved others because of His scars.

I sit here knowing and thinking of others right here, right now within my arm’s reach who are in a painful battle, on the edge of being launched into the battle, or worse, being sent into another round of battle.

I am thinking of you right now and I am so sincerely wishing I could provide relief for this torture and erase the chance of you being “called” into “life combat”.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can.

And, the Wisdom to know the difference.

I cannot change where you are, however, I can offer myself to your battle as an empathic sidekick and offer to endure the wait with you, to be a source of emotional and physical support as you walk through this.

I do not write to you for pity, or for response. I do not seek sympathy or support. What I hope is that with these words I change our corner of the world and how we care for those we pass in our everyday. Yes, a bit of an overachiever but it is a curse I live and breathe (and my husband’s by default of marrying me).

I cannot make the call come sooner and I cannot predict the outcome, but I can change how I respond to others who will tell me of their wait, and so can anyone who reads this.

I, and others, can try to understand that our “well intentioned” words, cliché, Bible verse, positive quote or cheerleader attitude are not what needs to be brought to the moment, but rather sincerity of the heart, spirit and word.

I, personally commit to act, not speak, comfort in quiet heartfelt power, in strength of passion, and of truly offered prayers, and to be an unconditional support embedding in minds, hearts and spirits, of those who are struggling, ensuring them sincerely that they will not walk from “the wait” to “the battle” alone.

Whether it be a card, a call, a text, an offer of a meal, coffee or accompaniment at church, doctor’s, or on a bench at the park, where the busyness of children might offer a comfortable distraction. Let us remember that even in the darkest hour of the God many of us turn to in ours, he knelt to pray to His Father to spare Him of the call to battle, asking His closest friends to join him and simply “be” with him as he awaited “the call”. He found strength in numbers, and of friendship.

This chapter of life has reminded me to remember the importance of action over words. To act with love, and not simply stop at speaking of it, and that support in action, no matter how small, simply or easily offered, can and will change this corner of the world and the lives of those who are within it.

It has reminded me and strengthened me to reach further and with more empathy and passion for Hope and Friendship was created as a conduit of kindness and compassion for those who struggle in any and every battle.

May we unite to walk with our neighbor strengthening them to in turn walk, accompany, or sit with another, with us as we wait, or walk, into life’s next battle.

“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Wishing you peace, love, fellowship, and strength in your wait and in your battles,

Terri O’Neill-Borders




Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9