When we lived in our single-wide trailer, it was out in Amish country about 20 miles from the next city. The piece of land my father bought from my grandfather was nestled between Amish farms belonging to my Grandparents and one of my father’s uncles. I lived there since the day I came home from the hospital until I was nearly four. Being in the country, and being too young to attend school it wasn’t like I had any friends, per se, other than the other toddlers I played with in the nursery at church.
As a three-year old, the concept of “friends” was a foreign one to me. I remember when my older sister, Naomi, started going to her Primary “Sunbeam” class at church. All of a sudden she started talking about this “friend” and that “friend”. This sounded like fun and I didn’t really know what friends did! I just knew I wanted some. That Fall, they were even planning a Primary Halloween party, and she would get to dress up with her new friends too!
I remember one afternoon crying on the sofa in the living room. I don’t even know what started the emotions, although, as an overly emotional child, I will admit it didn’t really ever take much to get me going. Well, soon enough, along came my mother, and she asked me why I was crying. I told her that I was sad because I did not have any friends. Then my mom said that she had a secret to tell me.
Well, I don’t know if I really understood what a secret was back then, however it sounded intriguing. I remember I stopped crying enough to give her my attention. My mother told me that she knew someone who would always be my friend. I was shocked. I quickly begged her to know the name of this person who would always be my friend. Then she said, “Jesus is your friend, and He will always be your friend, no matter what you are doing or where you are.”
Well now, I don’t know about you, but I liked the sound of that. It didn’t matter to me that I couldn’t see Jesus. I had an imagination, after all. I just needed to know that He was there and that He was my friend. Some people have imaginary friends. Not me. I was lucky. I was special. I had Jesus.
Jesus came to some of my tea parties. Jesus helped me play with my dollies. Jesus even talked to me while playing outside on the swing set. I remember once, while swinging, I was singing a song I had learned in church. Of course, Jesus had wanted me to sing louder. And of course I obliged. Soon, Great Aunt Wilma came over to the fence from hanging her wash. She complimented my singing. Then she made some comment about me and my “special friend”. I remember being shocked that she knew about Jesus playing with me!
“You can see JESUS?” I gasped.
Aunt Wilma whooped and hollered before replying, “I heard you two talking just a bit ago.”
I remember feeling a little embarrassed that she had just discovered I had been make-believe playing with Jesus. I liked Aunt Wilma; a lot. She had this smile that could warm a room, not to mention the fact that we had quite a few chats over that fence post, mostly resulting in her bringing me a cookie a time or two as well. Years later I had always wondered what she thought about the odd child who played and sang to Jesus on the swing set. I guess I sort of missed the point a little when my mother told me I had a friend in Jesus.
Nevertheless, I am grateful that at a young age this knowledge brought me as much comfort as it did. As much as I learned to love and respect my Savior, knowing that He is also my friend has helped me be able to feel that much closer to Him.
I am grateful my mother taught me that I have a friend in Jesus.