I have a new friend named Keith.
We know some of the same people. We connected on Facebook and he has a great family and a long history in agriculture. I think Keith is a Baby Boomer, but I have never asked his age. It is not important.
What is important? I learn from Keith and maybe he learns from me. What is also important? He is not creepy. There are plenty of creeps out there in virtual world, but not Keith.
Anyway, Keith reached out interested in some of the work I am doing and so we began a friendship. I do not always agree with Keith and I doubt he agrees with me all the time. But, guess what? Keith is still my friend. Yes, it can happen. We can be friends with people who are not the same as we are – every single friend fits this category.
I got to thinking about some of Keith and my virtual conversations and the one I have been honored by the most was when he told me the following about his service in Vietnam. These are not just any words – these are personal, prayer words and I am honored Keith shared them with me.
The following is what Keith prayed daily while serving in Vietnam and a few other thoughts he shared. I call these words, “Keith’s Prayer.” Here goes: “God, please do not let anyone die today, but if it has to be – let it be me. A little prayer I used to say every morning when I was in Vietnam. My brothers are all very special.”
Keith still visits with some of his Vietnam brothers. I am so glad he does. I have a feeling Keith’s grin and his ability to find a slice of good and humor in the world does a lot to help those “brothers” who may have a harder time talking about the darkest of dark times.
I share “Keith’s Prayer” today because it is the simplest, most powerful prayer I have heard in a very long time, if ever. In John 15:13 it says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” His prayer reminds me of that verse.
True friend – a rare find and more precious than gold. Behind these masks required now in so many places, are future friends, current friends, and friends a lot different than us. Ever since this entire pandemic nightmare began, I have wanted to connect with more people. In fact, more than ever before. I am thankful Keith is one of my new friends. I think he would lay down his life for me too if he could. I really believe that.
Keith, your prayer is beautiful and heroic. Since you shared it with me, I have pictured you as a young man among so many other young men and women. There you are, every morning, willing to sacrifice your life for your friends.
I know a lot of men and women who are serving, and who have served in these sorts of conflicts, came home or continue to come home feeling guilty because others did not, or do not, get to come home. Well, I can assure you Keith, that God continues to use you and your prayers.
“Keith’s Prayer” – it is a good one, I think. I know he would say it is a prayer anyone could repeat if they wanted to – that is exactly right and the beauty of it. We all can be friends and we can all muster up the courage to lay down our lives for each other.
If we can grasp “Keith’s Prayer,” we can face anything. I know it. Imperfect as we are, God knew it and that’s why God gave us the ability to befriend anyone, because God made us all.
God bless you Keith! I am lucky to call you my friend. Keep visiting those special brothers – they are super lucky too.
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