02 June, 2012

Unexpected opportunity to be a friend

The other day I "ministered" to someone by visiting them, and having a haircut.

I'm not a church planter or evangelist, but I am a friend. I don't have many Japanese friends, but I'm trying to stay in touch with those I do. On Thursday I decided, despite the pressing concerns that kept me awake the night before, to go and get a needed haircut. I could go to a hairdresser in my "suburb" (really a city, but geographically small compared to most cities in the world — 13 sq km), but I've decided to stay with the hairdresser in my previous city. It is close to the shop my friend owns, and it is only two train stops away. When I have a haircut I usually check that my friend will be in her shop and stop by for a chat, often I browse in the shop too (stationery shops are one of my favourite kinds of shops).

I'm glad I did on Thursday. She told me that her mum had collapsed at a funeral the day after Mother's Day. Her mum had a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage and they operated on her for nine hours! Her mum isn't yet fully conscious and they expect her recovery to take months. So, in addition to looking after her husband and two girls, and running her stationery shop with her husband, she's been driving down to visit her mum in hospital (it is about an hour from where she lives). She has a tremendous amount of energy usually, but I can imagine that this shocking event has drained her terribly.

While I was there her husband came to the shop early and unexpectedly told his wife she could leave early to do "something" with me. I was a bit short on time, so she walked with me to the hairdressers. When we saw that the shop was empty of customers, she decided to join me in having a trim (it isn't a place where you need an appointment). While we didn't get to chat for the hour that we were there, she admitted afterwards that it had been relaxing. She isn't someone who finds sitting still easy, so sitting at a hairdressers isn't usually attractive to her (she admitted to me once that she thought it was a waste of time). Somehow I feel that just by stopping by and sharing her burden, and then giving her and excuse to get away from the busyness of her life, that I helped her a little.

Friendship is a challenging concept when you go overseas. I sometimes find it hard to find things in common with others here, and friendship has a different definition that I haven't really got my mind around yet. But spending time with others and sharing the burden of their concerns is a universal way of being a friend.

She is so terribly competent, and self-sufficient. Oftentimes she's the one who's helping me (she was the one who helped me through the renewal of my driver's licence). She's not interested in the gospel. So I'm thankful for the opportunity to be there for her at a difficult time.

1 comment:

KarenKTeachCamb said...

Sometimes just "being there" is the greatest help a friend can give. Sounds like God's perfect timing for this visit. She may not be interested in the gospel, but at least she has someone to turn to if she does become interested.