An Old Friend

November 11, 2007
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Proverbs 22:1 – A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (NIV)

Romans 12:21 – Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NIV)

I visited an old friend this morning. I shared some happy memories with him and even shed a few tears. I talked quietly with him and fondly remembered some of the things that we did in church. I thanked him for the years of friendship and support that had helped me become a better person and, hopefully, a better pastor.

It was such a lovely morning. The sky was a wee bit grey and overcast, but there was a beautiful breeze wafting over the hill where I stood. A woodpecker was busily hammering away at an old tree, trying to get its breakfast. In the distance I could hear some traffic, but none that was too intrusive to the sacred quietness that my friend and I were experiencing.

After sharing some happy thoughts and few silly jokes, it was time to say farewell. That's when the memories flooded over me and took me back, six years ago to the very day. Whilst the entire world was going to hell and the Twin Towers came crashing down to the ground, I was tearfully holding the hand of David Thompson with his wife Linda. We both felt paralyzed and powerless as we watched his life ebb gently away. All the machines in the hospital ward were slowing down and flat-lining. The time in between each monitor beep told us that everything was shutting down. David was dying and there was nothing that we could do.

So, this morning, I went to talk to David at the cemetery. It's how I cope with 9-11. Instead of remaining vindictive and angry, vengeful and enraged at what the terrorists did to us all of those years ago, I remember and esteem the life and death of one of my best friends. I don't dwell on the evil and let it roast my heart; I think of the friendship that I once knew, and hold on to the hope that through our shared faith, David and I will one day meet each other in heaven.

"So long, David," I prayerfully whispered as I left the cemetery. "I'll see you again, someday."

Prayer: Lord Jesus, today I choose to remember life and not death. I choose friendship over foes, happiness over hostility, and faith over fanaticism. Thank You for these blessings and gifts. In Your holy name, I cheerfully pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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