In the Summer of 2007 a highly spirited, fresh out of college, friend came into our lives. She was a work friend who quickly became a “friend friend.” Her greatest quality was her big heart and her commitment to making everyone that crossed her path feel loved and accepted. Her heart of gold and sometimes annoyingly positive attitude quickly earned her the name, “Pollyanna.” She always sees the best in people and refuses to think anyone is capable of evil.
With Pollyanna being so innocent and not very wise to the ways of the world, my friends and I took it upon ourselves to finish raising her. We saw her excel in the community and become a stellar volunteer and advocate for any cause that helped others less fortunate. We even witnessed her cut the purse strings from her parents and obtain her own cellphone plan.
Pollyanna’s pure heart has been the fodder of many great stories that we will share for the rest of our lives. One time a fellow Kiwanian had to correct the story she was telling about the newly installed wooden steps at the River Bank. She told as many people that would listen that those steps were for the ducks because they had been fed so much bread and gained so much weight they couldn’t fly and needed the steps to exit Cane River Lake. Our Kiwanian friend chuckled at the story and gently reminded her, “while that is a great story the truth of the matter is those steps were for the Meat Pie Triathlon.”
We liked Pollyanna’s version better.
Through the years our friend circle has celebrated Pollyanna getting married to the love of her life and within a few short years the birth of her son. All the while our circle had life changes of our own including loss of parents, moving and relationship issues. We’ve always been there for each other with lots of humor and without judgement. Humor seemed to be our go-to, cure-all emotion and it worked without fail until this past year.
In September 2017 Pollyanna began experiencing health symptoms that could no longer be chalked up to a long day, exhaustion, or sinus issues. Through various testing and doctors appointments it was confirmed that our best friend had a large tumor on her right frontal lobe. We held her hand and began to do what friends do, minus the humor.
Within 24 hours of the discovery, a surgery was scheduled. We were told it was benign and the recovery would take six weeks. We had all watched too much Grey’s Anatomy and let our worry take over.
That evening we did what we do best. We showed up at her house with food and words of comfort to help plan the next six weeks, clean her house, and help make necessary phone calls. At this point we couldn’t help but let our humor kick in again. We teased her endlessly about the amount of laundry piled up as if the tumor were a plan to get us to catch her up on chores.
Late that evening on her back porch her cherished son cuddled in her lap on the porch swing. This was our cue to leave so they could have family time.
The next time we saw Pollyanna was in the hospital the night before her surgery. Unbeknownst to us we arrived just as she signed her paperwork, the dreaded paperwork stating you may die from the procedure. There were lots of emotions and not very much peace at this time. There was nothing we could do but hold her hand and watch her husband comfort her.
Before we left we prayed. To cover all of our bases we prayed a Catholic and a Baptist prayer. Her true peace came when a Deacon visited and prayed the following prayer, “God, even in the darkest times let us all praise your holy name.”
Looking back we see where God’s hand was was orchestrating every single moment of this journey for our friend and her family.
A world-renowned surgeon made a special trip back from another state just to perform the surgery. The surgeon assured her this was the best case scenario of surgeries and she was in good hands. He was a Christian as well and prayed with her.
God placed a local citizen in her path who had this very same surgery and he assured her she would be fine. She had friends behind the scenes planning meals for her family for the weeks to come. For the first time in her career she had a team of strong women who would carry the marketing torch in her absence. She was even able to celebrate her son’s birthday two weeks prior.
Pollyanna was an incredible person before this journey but this experience helped her find a deeper faith. She has more peace and less worry than ever before. Her new motto in life is “Thou shalt not get in a tizzy.”
“All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28…..and she is living with a new purpose.