Once in a while, it is good to look back at the folly of yesteryears and be amazed at how much it still holds a grip on you, despite the years. I was in Grade 4 when I crossed path with Candy. It was a ‘bond’ at first sight. It was so easy to tell that she had the makings of a best friend. We looked alike, talked alike even dressed alike. And what’s more we think alike!
Or so, I thought.
One time, I remember distinctly a discussion we had about life and things in general. The one thing that stood out in my mind was when I asked her how she coped with bothersome things, she simply said, “I pray.”
My brows furrowed at that answer. For a while, I was speechless. She what? I asked myself repeatedly almost with disbelief. She prayed? My young mind could not fathom then how prayers could solve problems. For something as complex as problems, how can a simple prayer be the solution?
I mean, seriously, when confronted with a problem, I do what normal people do – I act, I decide, I plan and I overcome. These are the most obvious courses of action in tackling problems. Right? But to simply pray, where does prayer figure in this whole thing? Where’s the fun in praying? It’s the antithesis of action. How can being passive like praying solve problems?
Candy’s words got me into thinking- hard. The questions I asked somehow served as the impetus that embarked me on probably the longest and most arduous journey of my life – to learn to pray!
Candy’s shining examples encouraged me to probe deeper into the wonders of prayer. I decided to pray- as simple as that. But the journey thru the years made me realized that prayer is anything but simple. To me, it is like unlocking life’s greatest mysteries. It’s one of intricacies of human nature – easier said than done. To some, prayer is just a perfunctory endeavor. To others, it is a way of life.
With Candy’s able assistance and encouragement, my journey progressed from uttering mere formula prayers to formulating my own prayers to finally praying from the heart. Then I learned that the most difficult part in praying I discovered is not in learning to pray sincerely. It is in the waiting for an answer to the prayer.
Patience is not exactly one of my strongest points. I found it hard to remain still and listen to God’s little voice sometimes. But Candy provided a steady shoulder whenever I wavered in my faith.
I remember one time I got sick, and Candy paid me a visit. She stayed by my side, talked about her own ailments and how she overcame them. One thing particularly stood out of my mind. She said that ‘when you are down on your back, you have nowhere to look but up’. Of course, as she wont to do, she asked me to pray.
Throughout the entire experience I learned that prayer is not just communicating to God. It is also God communicating to us. How we act on the wisdom He entrusted to us will spell the difference between mere prayer and praying from the heart.
This made me appreciate Candy’s friendship more and more. Here she was, she could have talked about petty things. Or, criticized people behind their backs like what other women would do but she opted to talk of something positive. Something helpful and would cheer me up.
I realized that in life, we always like those kind people. They are the ones whose friendship we treasure most. We seek them out, the way we seek gold. They are rare and precious. Unlike others, they don’t inject you with poison or hang-ups. They encourage you to be better. They are angels personified. And because they live, our lives are never the same again.