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The wait….

November 15, 2017

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


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