My mom handed me the card. “Can you give this to her on Tuesday?”
A friend of my mom’s had sent her a beautiful hydrangea after we called in hospice. Mom was touched by the thoughtfulness and wanted to send her friend a thank you card.
I took the card, not even glancing at it. A little later my eyes caught the black ink on the front. Something wasn’t right.
A Careful Eye
I examined the choppy, sharp edges of her writing. Staggered loops replaced the smooth, rounded edges of letters I could recognize as my mom’s in a second. Most people would have just chalked it up to sloppy handwriting.
Instead, I saw the great effort and great pain it took for her neuropathy-withered fingers to hold the pen and write each painful letter.
I saw it because I knew Mom’s handwriting.
How often, do we see friends in passing who are hurting, yet we don’t notice the pain they’re carrying? Could it be because we haven’t leaned in to observe them on normal days?
Just last week my son Drew asked me if we can “copy” money. My husband and I explained the complicated process of printing our currency — Matt’s knowledge coming from his insatiable curiosity of Discovery Channel shows and mine coming from my visit to the US Mint as a teenager.
I explained to him that experts in counterfeit detection spend hours pouring over the study of the “real” money. That way they can detect even the slightest difference in forged bills.
When we know something well, we can detect minute variances.
The same is true in relationships. Do we lean in when our friend is talking? Do we listen to her words instead of thinking about what we’re going to say next? Do we make ourselves a student to those we care about, with the intention of loving them well?
Because only in the study of a person will we be able to detect when something isn’t right. And when something isn’t right, that’s usually when she needs a friend the most.