I had a secret friend when I was a young girl.
I couldn’t see Him, but I knew He was there–always at my side. He came to me in secret every Sunday, hidden and disguised in a humble, unassuming form. And for those few fleeting moments, He was as close to me as anyone on this earth could possibly be: a literal taste of heaven.
My teenage years were largely a lonely time, except for my secret friend. I grew to know Him in a deeper way as I leaned on Him. Sometimes I would roam the hallways of my high school, waiting for the first class bell to ring, and I pictured my secret friend there beside me. I would whisper to Him the thoughts, worries, and questions in my heart. Many times I didn’t hear an answer, but I knew that He was listening and that was enough.
Walking away alone after my first boyfriend ended our relationship, my heart feeling as though it had been torn into a million shreds, I looked up into the night sky. The stars shone in the blackness and I whispered, “Now it’s You and me again.” No matter how many times I may have failed Him, my friend was always there, ready to satisfy my heart that kept straying in search of what I thought I needed.
Many years have passed. Now I am a wife and mother. If I could return to that little girl of my childhood and let her know what the future held, my younger self would have rejoiced in so many prayers beautifully answered.
I am indeed deeply blessed. Yet, somewhere along the way—maybe between the diaper changes, late night nursing sessions, drives to music lessons, and unending piles of laundry and dishes—somehow I lost sight of my dear friend. Of course, I never forgot Him completely. He still came to me every Sunday and I welcomed Him … but maybe my welcome became a little less enthusiastic. I still talked to Him … most of the time. When it did happen, it often consisted of a distracted litany of needs and requests.
Being a wife and mother is my vocation, but it isn’t my everything—or, it shouldn’t be. That identity has seeped into my very bones; yet, I was someone before the birth of our first child and before my husband and I exchanged vows. I belonged to Someone before I belonged to my family.
My husband is my closest companion and trusted confidant. My children bring me indescribable joy. But as much as they fill my heart with abundant love, they cannot fully satisfy a heart they didn’t make.
And so I’ve begun to rise early in the morning when everyone still sleeps. I move into my inner room—literally and figuratively—and sit quietly. My Friend is there in that secret place. Who am I that He should want to befriend me? I don’t understand it, but He does. As I sit there, I know that He sees and hears me. He has been waiting for me all this time. He never left; in many ways, I did.
My secret Friend is my Savior, Redeemer, Creator, Sanctifier, and King. Everything good in my life comes from His outstretched, pierced hands. Could there be anything better than this? He is, quite literally, my everything. To whom else could I go?
St. Josemaría Escrivá wrote, “And what is the secret of perseverance? Love. Fall in Love, and you will not leave him.” Lord, my closest, dearest friend, my heart is frail, weak, and fickle, so pour Your perfect love into my broken heart. Let me love You with Your love. In doing so, allow me the gift of falling in love with you anew each day. I don’t ever want to leave You.
I have a secret Friend and I whisper words of love to Him throughout my day. When my children do something that annoys me or the project I’m working on falls apart or I drop tonight’s dinner all over the kitchen floor, I secretly tell my friend, “All for you.”
This is the least I can do for this secret friend who has done everything for me.