I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can you ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travellers to go
Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then everything's all right
It seems to me a crime that we should age
These fragile times should never slip us by
A time you never can or shall erase
As friends together watch their childhood fly
"Friends" by Elton John
I came online a little while ago and found an email from my best friend Lizzee waiting for me. Amongst other things, she had this to say:
"Read your blog this morning, you were talking about “your dark days”, I really remember them. I remember you telling me about it one night in your bedroom, I remember telling you how wrong it is and I was scared for you. You laughed at me, said that it was okay. I prayed for you to be alright and my prayers were answered."
Do you understand why I love this woman and why we've been friends for over 40 years now? I also remember those days, too, when she'd come and stay overnite or we'd spend a Saturday together walking around downtown Vancouver. I remember how smug and arrogant I was, how I scoffed at her Christianity and did everything I could to try to convince her there was nothing to it. One thing she remained was steadfast and sure of what she had. It was one of the few areas in which we didn't see eye to eye and it wasn't something we talked about a lot because our beliefs were so different at that time. Do you know, she was probably the only person back then who I even confided in as far as what I was doing. Precious little did I tell her, but I told her enough to have her scared enough to pray for me. I never knew then that she prayed for me. Imagine that.
So...thank you, Lizzee, for not being afraid to stand up for what you believed in. Thank you for remaining friends with me, even thru those 'dark days.' I think your friendship was one of the few things that kept me sane. Finding out now that you were praying for me then gives me renewed faith in believing those I pray for will find their way out of darkness, too. As you also said in your email, think of all the people out there who are involved in 'that stuff'.
In years past I used to go to correctional centers, reform schools, and the Oregon State Penetentiary on occasion to share my story during church services. I remember one conversation I had with the chaplain at one of the reform schools who told me that 80% of the kids on campus there were involved in the occult in one way or another. 80 % !!!! Hymnals and Bibles were defaced with pentagrams and other occult symbols. It makes me wonder who preyed on their innocence. I remember leaving that particular service, getting into the van for the ride back to Portland, and breaking down in tears. I told our minister "There but for the grace of God goes I." Why did God's grace find me? Why did I respond? How on earth, in such limited time and contact with those kids, would we ever be able to reach them? To let them know there is a better way?
I'm sure, for me, it was Lizzee's prayers. Anonymous prayers, too, of those who pray for the lost all the world over. "I once was lost but now am found...was blind, but now I see."