You were with me in a garden long ago; with green shadow dappled lawns, edged with terracotta bricks; and trees filled with blackbird song. When I, a child of three or four, came in from play one day to say that I had talked with you.
You were with me too, in fields where I heard your voice above the distant lowing of cattle; on the wind that sighed, and riffled rolling waves of silver green grass. To this shy girl when eight, you were a confidante.
You were with me, stirring my heart when nine, to give the only gift I had; my life; to you, a fervent offering. Praying alone in the one room we lived in then, I said impulsively, "I will be a missionary."
You were with me in the dark, helping me endure my many fears, night terrors, and deep insecurities.
You were with me in the songs I sang in school assemblies, through which I learned of your childhood; your life; and sacrificial death. Hot tears filled my eyes each year through Holy Week as we sang sad hymns about your crucifixion.
You were with me at two Billy Graham movies in my teens, where your Spirit called to mine, and I responded with a whispered, "Yes;" not knowing really what that meant.
You were with me in the church; in joy and disillusionment; community and disunity; a broken body in so many ways; you have been my hope and Rock.
You were with me in many signs of love so real and clear, just when needed.
You were with me in my mother's grey blue eyes of blazing love, and the deep peace that was in them at the end.
But what if I had never known you? What if I had never heard or recognized your voice? What if I had said, "No?"
Different choices; I would be less; unshaped by the One who has the Master plan for my life. How much I would have missed, and never known it.
But I do know you!
Your presence...it is the constant that has held me and holds me still, after all these years.