When I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer I wondered what would happen with our Bed & Breakfast. Innkeeping had been my dream since our honeymoon in 1982. I knew that Glenn and Valerie would be stretched thin as they cared for me. What if I couldn’t keep it going? The alternative was heart-wrenching and challenging to even consider.
I pondered and prayed and prayed and pondered. I put a note on Facebook that I was in a quandry. Offers of support came in immediately. “You’re in my prayers.” “I can’t cook, but I sure can clean!” “I can greet guests.” I’ll clean your inn.” “I cook a mean breakfast!” There were too many offers to track. I was on many prayer lists and certainly felt the power of prayer as I was going through treatment. I was a friend in need.
Our local “good news” paper, The Jacksonville Source, published a beautiful article about me. That interview, backed by offers of support, solidified my commitment to keep Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast going. It also gave me the opportunity to ask the entire Jacksonville community for their prayer support and for guest referrals to keep us in business.
Early in treatment, just after the article came out in The Source, I went to a Friday night Gallery Hop in downtown Jacksonville. Storekeeper friends assured me of their prayerful concern. Bookstore Andy stopped on the sidewalk to give me a hug. One woman I’d never met caught me in a store to say that she would be praying for me. Other friends and colleagues welcomed me to meetings and gatherings and excused me from others, always with compassionate concern. From friends to strangers, people were generous and caring.
I didn’t announce to all my guests, past or incoming, that I was dealing with Cancer. (I did tell some of my frequent returners so that they would not be shocked when they arrived and saw the difference in my appearance.) I remember sitting down at the guests’ table right after Valerie served breakfast one morning, just in time for the blessing. One guest started to pray, and included his prayer for my strength and healing. His voice broke. I remember getting teary-eyed as his brother-in-law picked up where he left off and finished the prayer. Other couples asked to pray with me during their stay or as they were departing.
Close friends called and visited and found many ways to show their love and concern. They were compassionate and generous in many ways. I know that many “prayed me through” treatment. When speaking with my one of my good friends with way too much personal experience with Cancer, I found that besides making me laugh, he spent time encouraging me about specific concerns he knew I was dealing with emotionally. Our neighbor a few doors down, a friend of a friend, rolled a little red wagon down the sidewalk – a couple of times – and offloaded huge pots of soup, fresh baked bread and other goodies for our family. She was someone I’d never even met.
I was a friend in need. They were friends, indeed.
The Source Article – Checking in on Gwenn Eyer