I am a bit stunned tonight.
At a loss.
I am pulled into memories of teen years and a special friend.
A very rare, real and special friend.
We remained friends throughout our lives although we did not stay in continuous contact as our lives led us in different directions. My mind is racing as I am trying to remember our last conversations.
I am at a loss as I try to piece together the meaning of the timing of his death as well as our chance meeting once again just prior. I have been scrambling through my journals, e-mails and call history and replaying in my head the last time I saw him, one year ago. It was at the Stop and Shop right down the street from my house. I was not sure it was him as he looked heavier and was a bit of a distance away. As I fumbled for my cell phone and called him, for some reason the phone did not make the connection- but when I finally spoke with him, he said he wished we could have talked, he was feeling down on that particular afternoon. I am humbled as I contemplate these things, my friend has left this life.
He has entered eternity.
My heart longs for the assurance of Heaven for him.
We met as teenagers. We had many great times together and my memories are filled with laughter, smalltown fun and drama as well as youthful rebellions. We dated on and off but our friendship remained the most consistent. He proved himself a loyal friend, although we both had not come to know the Lord yet. He was one of the kindest, gentlest souls I have known.
I remember one time he let me borrow his car and I was having so much fun driving, while listening to "The Police" (the band- not being pursued by them!) I sideswiped something, badly damaging his car, and he took it all in stride, never wanting me to feel badly! Through the years we would come and go in and out of each other's lives knowing we had a friend and welcome place for our hearts to visit.
A drop by on Thanksgiving, getting together and going out, and occasionally seeing him play out with his band. He was a much better friend to me than I to him. I am grateful to have known him.
It saddens me to think I won't see him...it is difficult, even though I have rarely seen him over these past years. Just knowing some friends are around, and doing ok is enough.
Knowing he had children and remembering his family breaks my heart.
What is saddest, is I found out now-1 year from the date of his death! My mom saw a one year anniversary of his death in a local paper- and asked me. I immediately searched and found to my sadness his obituary for June 25th 2010.
I wish I had a chance to say good-bye for now.
I wish I had a chance to say one more thing.
To hug him as we always did with that warm, hug of friendship and acceptance. Our last correspondence had been on again as the Lord crossed our paths once more. He shared with me he was going through difficult times and was really down on himself. I can't remember everything we said but I do have our last e-mails. I let him know how God was able to redeem me and I was certain He could do the same for Him by relationship with Jesus and through His Word. He expressed he was happy how my life was turning out and I was hopeful for him and hoped we would get together to talk about all God was doing in our lives and also to encourage him in what seemed to be new life in Christ. I wanted to I invite him to our church as he was feeling isolated. I am really finding it hard to believe, my friend is gone. Images and memories are going through my head. Tears now. I so want to see this friend in Heaven. I so want to rejoice with him. I so want to know he made that one defining decision. I am trying so hard to remember. I believe he did. As I look back at my journals so far I found his name under my evening prayer list for the date: June 27th 2010- apparently he had been on my heart to pray for at that time. Usually if someone is brought to my mind by the Holy Spirit, out of the blue, I write it down. This was one of those times. It was also a busy time so although I did not write it until that time it is obvious the Spirit was moving.
Oh, Lord may I not ever miss that.
"There is a place I long to be,
It is a place I cannot yet see."
In memory of my friend Steve, I want to share these words by William Penn:
"I shall pass through this world only once.
If therefore there's any kindness I can show
or any good thing I can do let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again."
I am hoping to see you in Heaven and trusting you are already in the arms of our Savior.
I look forward to seeing you then,
I will miss knowing you are here in the meantime.
I will pray for your children and family.
I will hold you in my heart, until we meet again.