hopeful friendship

November 15, 2014

Today is Twyla’s birthday.  Shortly after waking this morning…I thought about her as I frequently have over the years.  The last time we spoke was nearly twenty years ago, by phone.  Though there was excitement in our voices because of our years apart – I sensed a deep sadness in her speech that has perpetually plagued me.  I wondered if I could have said more.  Asked more questions.  She told me she was moving to Atlanta to start a new life – She wanted a fresh start because life had already been quite cruel to her.  I remember encouraging her as we promised to stay in touch.  One year later, my wedding invitation was returned to my mailbox marked “Unknown Recipient.”  Her phone number was no longer a valid number.  I tried to contact her grandmother in Atlanta and that number was disconnected.  What happened to my dear friend, Twyla?  Did she find the peace she was looking for?  Did she settle down with a godly man; someone she could trust to love her always?

I was nineteen years old when I met her.  The moment I met her as my college roommate, I noticed she glistened like a bright little star.  The only thing we had in common at the time was the fact we both requested a “nonsmoker” for a roommate.  Which was ironic because by semester exams of 1989, we had both picked up the bad habit.  We used to scrounge up loose change to purchase the little killers, since we were mutually so broke.  We were instantly bonded in many ways by our laughter, our years of friendship and yes, even all those sad tears.  When I recall those college days, I see that she and I went our different ways during the days and shared different friends but by evening – we were inseparable.  Sharing our lives, hopes and dreams.

Twyla was adopted as a baby from Korea and was as beautiful as one can imagine any Asian young woman being.  Her skin was absolutely flawless while she innocently touted a chemical-free mane of blackest black.  Each night she would meticulously roll every small group of strands up with sponge rollers while I jokily mocked I was sleeping near my grandmother.  By morning though, when she released those captive tresses, they daintily fell down her back as I envied that endless natural beauty.

She was the type of person that hoped I would not return to our room “unscheduled” as she loved to dance around the room holding a hairbrush to her mouth, jumping on the bed singing her favorite tunes.  I learned, if the music was blaring as I approached the door to refrain from coming in and to return later.  I respected her enormously and admired her flare for life.  She was full of fire back then; being a brilliant student who rarely had to study.  She could be as gentle as a kitten and as ferocious as a hungry lion when need be. She is the only person in my life that ever jumped into my arms after being reunited from summer break.  That was Twyla.

Even though Twyla was adopted as a baby – she always seemed to be that unloved orphan.  Her mother and father were told they could not have their own children so they adopted Twyla as an infant.  Not long after that, her parents conceived a son. From that moment on, Twyla would share, she never felt love from them again.  Within a few years of her brother’s birth, her mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which left her bedridden, at times.   The father hired a care keeper and it was not long before Twyla caught him having an affair with the care keeper.  She and her wheelchair bound mother were discarded like trash and left to take up residency with her ailing grandmother.  The saddest part of that situation was even her own grandmother often mistreated Twyla for having to put her retirement aside to care for Twyla and her mother.  I always felt so angry with all of them.  I wanted to rescue Twyla but I couldn’t.  You see, I was just a kid too.

My dear friend, Twyla, never had a real home to go to during the summer’s or holidays. Yet she rarely complained.  My heart continually cried for her and still does.  My thoughts today?  Where is my dear friend, Twyla and has she found a peace that only God can give her?  Is she okay and does she have a family of her own?

I wrote this to the tune of “Hey There Delilah.”  Click the YouTube link to hear while you read along.

Hey there Twyla, What’s it like in the “City of the South?”
I’m four hundred miles away, but girl today, you seem so far
Yes you do, Peach Park can’t shine as bright as you,
I swear it’s true.

Hey there Twyla, Don’t you worry about the distance,
I’m right here if you get lonely, give this story a chance to tell,
Close your eyes, Listen to my voice and hear my sighs.
I’m by your side.

Oh it’s what HE’s done for me, Oh what He’s done for you
Oh it’s what HE’s done for me, Oh what He’s done for you

What He’s done for you

Hey there Twyla, I know times are getting hard,
But just believe me girl someday we’ll sit and cry about the scars
We’ll decide it’s good, we’ll have the life we knew we should
His Word is good.

Hey there Twyla, I’ve got so much left to say,
If every simple prayer I lifted for you, would take your breath away,
I’d write them all, even more in love with our God you’d fall,
You’d have it all

Oh it’s what HE’s done for me, Oh it’s what HE’s done for you
Oh it’s what HE’s done for me, Oh it’s what HE’s done for you

Four hundred miles seems pretty far, But they’ve got planes and trains and cars,
I’d walk to you, if I knew where to go
Our friends would all make fun of us, and we’ll just laugh along because
We know that many of them have felt this way

Twyla I can promise you, by the time that we get through,
The world will never EVER be the same, and God’s to blame

Hey there Twyla, you be strong, and don’t you worry
Few more years, we’ll be done playing the dual
Still, I’ll be writing stories,
Like I do
You’ll know it’s partly cause of you,
We can catch up like we use to do

Hey there Twyla here’s to you, this story’s for you.

Oh it’s what HE’s done for me, Oh it’s what HE’s done for you
Oh it’s what He’s done for me, Oh it’s what He’s done for you

What HE’s done for you

Miss my dear friend, Twyla this day – her forty-third birthday.  And I’m praying more than anything that she has found Christ, who will never EVER leave her as an orphan.  Happy Birthday, my beautiful Twyla.