Grace and peace to you St. John Family,

This month’s View started out to be about a conversation with a man I was privileged to talk with one day. We talked about his life and his journeys. The conversation we had was truly inspirational and I was pumped. I was so uplifted and excited I could hardly wait to share it with Penny. It was so invigorating; I felt as if I had looked into the face of God! But as time went on, I became a bit lost as to what I wanted to write. You see, I lost two very good friends shortly after that and the grief and sadness overtook me as I pondered their loss. I was so excited to tell you of this new friend’s conversation but the interruption caused writer’s block when it came to writing it down.

It seems the losses are coming more frequently. I have known these two friends since they were ten and eleven years old. I am only ten years older so I was also very young. We got to know each other well and even worked together at different times in our lives. Knowing them and their families is a gift I will always cherish. There are many great memories! They were very good men who shared themselves with everyone. They were “give you the shirt off their back” kind of guys. They lived good lives helping others and just being good friends. Giving of themselves, expecting nothing in return. Only love.

Well, as I said earlier, this month’s View was supposed to be about that conversation with a new friend. Somethings about him makes it seem that I have known this new friend a long time too. He seemed just as familiar as either of my two old friends of many years. He talked of his life and the journeys he had. He told stories of his time during the Vietnam War. He spoke of dangerous,
perilous times when evil and death were near. Times most of us could scarcely imagine unless we had been though war ourselves. He told me that through it all he always felt God’s presence. He has always felt that way even before he went to war. He knew and trusted that whatever befell him, God was always present and was there to see him through it all. He shared the good news of Jesus and knows he is loved. He was always able to trust in God. Even now he shares that same love. The Bible has many stories of dangerous and perilous times, similar to the stories shared by this new friend. It was as if God was telling me some of His stories too.

Then came the interruption; the loss of two old friends. “Ouch! That hurts!” And then later, as I thought of these two old friends I remembered the new friend and his stories and his trust in God and that God is always there with him. I know that my two old friends knew and loved God and I believe He was and is there with them even now. Looking back, maybe I was supposed to have that conversation with this new friend. Maybe it was a preparation for things to come; to prepare me for these losses. I grieve still, for them and their families. I also believe God is always there for us.

I saw the so many familiar faces and talked and shared memories with different families and friends. All of them shared the same feelings. All of them trust that God is there. How uplifting and how enlightening it is to know this. Thank you, Lord!

In Jesus name,

Ron Johnson

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