A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.
~ Proverbs 17:17 ~
“Best friends,” I heard someone say, “are people who point you to Jesus.”
It was September 1966. I was the new kid in the 5th grade class and ready to make friends with anyone who wanted my friendship. Two girls entered my life; one a friend, the other an enemy — Wendy W. and a chola.
Wendy was ten, but very tall; I was ten and short. I’m not sure why Wendy and I hit it off, but there was something about her that drew me to her. We were an odd pair, but God knew what He was doing when He brought us together.
The chola did NOT like me. At ten she was already wearing eye makeup that went from one side to the other (think raccoon), dark lipstick, and rouge. Her dark brown, long and straight hair was done up in a beehive; and it was as stiff as wire because of all the hairspray. This girl looked for opportunities to torment me.
In 6th grade, the chola instigated a fight with another friend. We were playing volleyball and I missed; my friend, upset that I had missed, yelled, “I’m going to get you!” Later, someone passed a note to me: “Meet me in the bathroom after school!”
By the time school was out, everyone was asking me what I was going to do. Talk about peer pressure. In the bathroom, with kids around us and shouting, my friend and I lamely hit each other’s arms because neither one of us had the heart to fight each other.
About three minutes into the fight, one of my brothers ran in and yelled, “Mom wants you and she’s really mad!” That scared me more than being in a fight. I bolted out of there like the devil was chasing me.
I don’t remember if Wendy was there that day; but God protected me. That day I learned that fights would never be a part of my repertoire of school performances. Choral singing, yes; fighting, no.
The last time the chola tangled with me was in junior high. Wendy and I were walking to school; somehow the chola grabbed me by the front of my blouse and threw me into the street. I remember seeing the cars coming toward me and being jerked back onto the sidewalk. My blouse was torn and I was crying. Wendy helped me. She walked with me into the school and straight to the principal. I showed him the tear in my blouse and both of us told him the story. I don’t know what happened to the chola, but she never messed with me again.
That was the first time Wendy saved my life. Fast forward eighteen years. I’m sitting at the dining room table, eating dinner. I’m lonely and desperately need God’s forgiveness (see November 20, 2010 post for the story). The phone rings and a voice says, “Hi there, Maria. Do you remember this voice from your past?” It was Wendy, calling me in response to a thought that she needed to contact me.
That night was another turning point. Again, Wendy intervened in saving my life, but this time, it was spiritual salvation. Her call told me that Jesus still loved me and that in Him I would have love, forgiveness of my sins, and my shame removed.
It’s been about 45 years since Wendy and I met and we’re still in touch with each other. I can’t let this friend and sister go; we’re like salt and pepper, but we find our unity in the fact that we’re our Father’s daughters. The bond between us is sealed.
She’s going through a very difficult time right now, and it’s my turn to intervene in her life, through prayer and comfort. (Pray for her if she comes to mind.)
The chola, I have no idea where she is; but if she’s still alive, my prayer is that she comes to know Jesus and have the rest and peace she needs. In Jesus’ name, amen.