If I worked hard enough I suppose I could find you. If I cared as much as I’m about to say that I do, maybe I would. The last I knew you were not doing well and had decided not to come back to school in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I hope you’re still around, but I don’t really know how bad your health was. If you’ve left us, I hope I’ll see you again in Heaven.
That’s what I think about when you come to mind. I was such a young fool. I had much to learn about life and my place in it. On the other side of a painful divorce, much of the arrogance you saw in me was shattered. That kind of thing wasn’t supposed to happen to a preacher’s kid who thought some day he would be a preacher too. As I reflected on our brief friendship I realized that I didn’t model for you the kind of life I advocated. In many ways I was the classic hypocrite. If only I had the understanding then that I do now, but I guess that’s what growing up is all about.
What sticks out in my memory, though no longer distinctly is that toward the end of our time together you began to say some troubling things. I remember the night we prayed together. I remember it was you who took the initiative to accept Jesus as lord of your life. It is among my most precious memories. I’ve always taken the blame for the doubts you began to express. Even after that night I didn’t live the part consistently, and sometimes I enlisted your help in my error. Ultimately you are responsible to God, but I should have been a help and not a hindrance. My church was no help either. If I had acted properly I would have immediately begun looking for a place with real Christians in it who would have accepted both of us, but you were left with only a young fool for support who was too self-absorbed to even know what he was doing.
Here I am, twenty years later still thinking about it and wondering if you ever found your way back. This letter will probably never find you, but if it did, I would want you to know that though much has been shaken, my faith remains. I wish I could have the opportunity to talk with you about it. At least I can talk to everyone else about it, and I hope that my life now is a clearer reflection of the truth then it was when you knew me. I express myself best when writing, so that’s what I do when I can make the time. All I want now is to here “Well done, good and faithful servant” when I leave this earthly life.
I still can’t help wondering from time to time if at least one person, namely you, will be there with me. I pray you didn’t let my folly drive you away from Him. His love is perfect. It never fails. I on the other hand have never stopped failing. My only hope is that God has a remarkable tendency to take even our failures and make something beautiful of them. That’s the only way I can explain the life I have now. If I’ve learned nothing else, I know that I am nothing without Him. I don’t know where this would find you, but if it is not a good place, I say that even now it is not too late.