Sprint, not our wireless carrier of choice and therefore I have no stake in advertising for them, has a great little phrase of advertising these days. They call it their Framily Plan. It's a wireless plan for all family and friends to somehow divide the bill and share data and so forth. Honestly, I don't know much about the situation, but I love the term. Love.The.Term.
Framily is one of the things that I take with us out of the summer. I take that there is family and there are friends and there are friends who are family. Framily.
I'll only speak for myself, not the Queen. But I can think of three men, in particular who are basically brothers. They were just there. All the time. They showed up at planned times and unplanned times. It's not that others didn't show up or love us or care. They did. But these three in particular were just...
Well, they were Framily.
Proverbs talks about a friend who sticks closer than a brother (18.24). Most people apply that to Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Jesus sticks close. But I apply it to these three men as well.
I have several pastor friends. Many kept up with us and checked in on me multiple times a week. I'm grateful for all of them. One in particular just kept showing up. In hand were Torchy's Tacos and Rudy's BBQ and Sonic Vanilla Dr. Peppers. And laughter. And worthwhile conversations. And friendship. And a sense of presence that didn't mind when things went sideways and he had to wait.
My Church Twin (so named because people mistake us for brothers) brought dinner umpteen times and just hung out. I was grateful for the company. He loved seeing Maggie progress and held her like I've seen him hold his little girl. He even came and got me to run me to Target when I forgot socks one time. I appreciated his practical, helpful friendship. But it was more than that too. Without divulging too much, I'll just say he's had some experience in kidville of the unpleasant variety. So it wasn't just that he was there, he understood. His was an experienced shoulder to carry the load with us.
The last guy was so above and beyond friendship that I can't even think of a nickname for him. And if you know me, that's something. He sat with Maggie often, giving the Queen and I a break every so often. He took several shifts in the middle of the night that let my sleep extend to 6+ hours and let the Queen come to bed earlier and sleep longer. Rumor has it from PICU nurses that he stood and prayed over Maggie several times and hour when he was alone with her. They have some sort of special bond now - she even called him by name at church last night. It wasn't just ministry to us. It wasn't just ministry to her. It was taking her (almost) as his own, her fight was his fight, our prayers were his prayers. He groaned and celebrated along with us, but more than that - he groaned and celebrated apart from us too. It was if she was (almost) his.
And again, I'm not highlighting these three to denigrate the other meal givers, lawn mowers, phone callers, text senders, prayer sayers, long huggers, money providers, or anyone else that jumped in. All of them qualify as Framily too. These three just stand out in my mind.
Here's the application for me.
We were loved so well. The practical expressions of love were thoughtful and consistent. The relational expressions of love were personal and heart-warming. All of that love made me question whether I had loved that well.
And so Framily challenges us to love better - to be more thoughtful, more consistent, more relational, more helpful, more servant-oriented, more initiative-taking, and more prayerful.
We won't forget them. Any of them. And we want to do better to emulate them. They loved us as they loved themselves. God used that to see us through. Amen.