I found this essay hidden in some old files on my hard drive. I originally wrote it in 1993. Thirty years ago. But as I reviewed what I’d written, I realized how timely its message remains. I hope it will speak to your heart now as you read it.
I don't usually think about my high school days. The passage of more than thirty years since I walked the halls of Far Rockaway High School has dulled their once meaningful influence on my life. But as I prepared to sign a “Best Wishes” card for a departing employee in my work section, and I read the sentiments others had written across the page, I felt myself suddenly transported to the Spring of 1968. Graduation excitement mounted as we moved through SATs, Prom preparations, and finals. During those last months of school, scores of yearbooks passed from one to another as we each asked our friends to write a message beneath their photo. Some tried to be funny. Some serious. But almost wrote with a certain sadness, knowing we would probably never see each other again.
"It's been a lot of fun! Enjoy your life!"
"I'm going to miss you! Keep in touch."
"May you succeed in all your future endeavors."
I read and re-read those notes often during that first year after graduation. But as the years slowly increased the distance between where I had been and where I happened to be at the moment, my yearbook ended up half-forgotten and buried between artifacts of another time. Every now and then, however, when I stumbled upon it by accident, I reminisced over those hand scrawled "hope you succeed," and "enjoy your life" messages, and wondered what happened to Steve and Marsha and Carol and the others. And as I walked back through those memories, I asked myself, “what about me? Have I succeeded? Have I enjoyed my life?
As I sat in my office, holding Ellen's card in my hand, I realized how important a task awaited me. Best wishes and prayers read by friends decades from today are important because those who reminisce about the past might also soul-search for today's answers. And those who soul-search often ask themselves, as I did, the important questions of life most of us don’t take time to consider as we fight traffic, wash dishes and raise a family.
I didn't know Christ in 1968. If I had, I like to think I would have written in my friends' year books something which would follow them even thirty years into the future, something like: "Whenever I think of you, I will pray you find all that God wants for your life."
Who knows the impact that simple statement could have on someone years down the road? Had I written that as a teen in 1968, perhaps one of my friends, reading it today, would lay the book down and ponder the imponderable. Perhaps he might glance toward heaven and address the God whom he ignored for years, and ask: "Have I found all that you have for me?"
And perhaps he would go one step further and say: "If not, God, please show me."
Knowing God as I do, He would show him . . . Christ.
So, as I looked at the card still in my hands, I didn't wonder what to write. The words flowed: "Whenever I think of you, I will pray you find all that God wants for your life."
Who knows? Maybe in 30 years (hopefully much sooner) Ellen will re-read it and turn her eyes toward heaven and ask, "Lord, have I found all that you want me to find?"
And then He will show her.