When I heard you went to be with the Lord, regret fell upon my heart instead of words. We’re good, Em. Always, you’d say. But with the utmost respect, I’m sorry it took me this long to find them–the words–to honor you. Can you hear me from that magnificent castle in the sky? A dear friend once told me, You are important to me. The Lord made it so. And you were an angel on earth with a humongous heart of extraordinary integrity.
The year was 2011, an age of social media. Decorated with prayer requests and personal musings, my timeline cast a mood of deep sorrow and pain. Only a careful observer could find glimmers of chosen hope through faith, woven together by a knack for comic relief. Anyone could say my heart was wide open, crying out to be healed–by someone–anyone–preferably by the God I spoke of.
You were my first friend in life who actually had walked a mile in my shoes. Legends of John Robert Stevens and his minions had bound us when accusations of “a cult” were still unrecognized. The same man-worshiping church that left me reeling for most of my life had burned you as well. Years of hanging in the balance, then God sent you. From San Diego to Simi Valley, what was dubbed as the daily detox from cult crap began.
What would a 61-year-old man want with a 31-year-old traumatized girl? There I went, alarms igniting an elusive side of me that hadn’t yet learned how to separate the monsters from the good guys. It was easier to distrust them all. BEWARE, DANGER APPROACHING. And I’m so sorry that I ever doubted you.
I’m committed to observing, praying, and sharing (gladly) in your suffering–not based on extensive knowledge of you. That’s what you said, then lived out for the rest of your life doing just that. Here I sit, re-reading twelve years of messages to soak up every truth you spoke. A gracious father figure who knew me as more than a container of a daughter? Sounds like an answer to the repeated prayers of a trapped little girl, faking the motions of adulthood. The most beautiful thing about your new profile photo is seeing how much He’s healed you, I read. You saw me when I felt unseen.
This week has been tough. Death has been playing on my heart. Visually, the world seems a bit darker without you here and I think of Mrs. Grover often. And guess what? Finally, I’m writing again. One of these days, I’m going to publish that memoir I only started as a gift for you all those years ago. Just start writing, I wish I could hear you say one more time. Ms. Eva picked up the baton to further what you started. As it turns out, writing mentors are great for that too!
I miss you. We shared profound suffering in this life and an irrevocable faith in the next. Well done, my beloved friend.
So much love until we meet again,