It Sounds Like God To Me

© Copyright 2007 by Phil Scovell - All Rights Reserved



                                       3

                          I Killed My Best Friend


                              By Phil Scovell


          



          I  was  born and  raised in  Des  Moines, Iowa.   Every  year, my
     parents took us to  the Iowa State Fair.   As a  little boy it was  an
     amazing place to visit.  The rides on the Midway, the snow  cones, the
     hot dogs, the farm animals, the  tractor pulls, the full sized replica
     of a cow carved from butter and displayed  behind a glass refrigerated
     showcase,  the fireworks, the  balloon man,  the demolition  derby car
     races, and the special guests that always  came to the Iowa State Fair
     defied a little boys imagination.
          I was only about 2  years old at the time, maybe  3 perhaps, when
     Roy  Rogers came  to  the fair.   Following  his performance,  he came
     around the fence and as thousands of us stuck our little hands through
     the wires, he shook hands.  As my sister held me up, I actually got to
     touch his  sleeve, believe it or  not, and I remember it  as though it
     were yesterday.
          We never spent much money at the fair because dad said everything
     was too expensive.   Just going, however, was always  a thrill because
     there were many free things to see.
          The most exciting  experience I  ever had  at the  fair became  a
     annual tradition.   We were walking down  one of the sidewalks  on our
     way to find our car and to go home, when we innocently passed a man on
     the sidewalk  selling something.  I  never even paid  any attention to
     what  he was selling because,  as I said, we  often didn't get much at
     the fair.   I  was the closest  to him  and the  man reached over  and
     placed a small green  lizard on my  right shoulder.   It had a  string
     loosely tied  about its neck  and there was a  safety pin tied  to the
     other end of the string.  The salesman quickly pinned the chameleon to
     my shirt  and said,  "Say little  feller.   That looks  great on  you.
     Wouldn't you like for your dad  to buy you this little lizard  as your
     pet?  They are only  a dollar.  Surely your dad can  afford a dollar."
     I had  never been so excited  in my life.   I don't recall if  I began
     jumping up and down but I felt like it inside.  I began begging my dad
     like never before,  or after, to  please let  me have him  for a  pet.
     That old sidewalk barker sure knew his stuff.  There was no way my dad
     could say no so I went home with a little box that had a clear plastic
     window in the front, air  holes punched in the sides of the small box,
     and my first chameleon lizard inside.  I was in love.
          From then on, I was always  asking how soon before the fair  came
     back to town.  "I want another  lizard.  Can you buy me another lizard
     this  year, dad?" I always asked long  before the fair came.  I wanted
     to make certain dad promised to get me one.   They never lived through
     the cold Iowa winters so I had to get a new one each summer.
          I soon determined  that dad liked the chameleons as much as I did
     because  he always  helped me  take  care of  them.   He  even got  an
     encyclopedia out and read up on what they ate and how to care for  the
     chameleons and that just wasn't like my dad at all.
          The first one we  brought home, dad pinned the safety  pin at the
     other end of the string  to one of mom's artificial plants she kept in
     a bowl.  Dad had read that the lizards lick the dew from the leaves of
     plants for water  so he would sprinkle water  on that artificial plant
     and we would watched the lizard lick the plastic leaves.
          The next year,  we tried something new.   With the new  lizard in
     hand, we opened a side window,  one on either side of our  living room
     picture window, and let the lizard climb onto the screen.  Pulling the
     window down, he could stay in their all day eating flies until he just
     couldn't stand it  any longer.   He also could  not get out unless  we
     opened  the inside window  so we removed  his string leash.   He could
     then climb up and down the screen as much as he desired.
          I played with my chameleon frequently.  I would ride my  bike out
     in the street in front of our home.  It was a quiet  side street and I
     would pin  the lizard to one of my shirt pockets and stick him inside.
     As I  would ride around,  he would climb  out of  my pocket and  up my
     chest until he  was partially beneath my  collar.  On one  occasion, I
     was riding my bike  and wearing a dark  rusty red shirt.  That  lizard
     changed  to the deepest  color of red  I had ever seen  before and you
     could hardly notice  him peaking out  from under my  collar as I  rode
     because his color was so much like my shirt.
          I  experimented with  the  various  colors  my  chameleons  could
     imitate.  I  could get them, by  placing them on different  colors, to
     change from a  very pale green to a deep dark,  almost black at times,
     leafy green.  I learned  various ways to change his color from a light
     tan to  a  dark earthy  umber brown.   As  I  already mentioned,  even
     placing him on something dark red would make  him slowly change colors
     to almost a copperish  mahogany.  My dad taught me  that God made them
     this  way so  they could  hide from their  predators.   "Predators?" I
     said; puzzled.   Dad explained that meant other animals that wanted to
     eat them.   "Eat  them?   Like what,"  I said  with some  alarm.   Dad
     explained  bigger lizards,  maybe snakes,  and things  like that.   "I
     won't let my lizard get eaten by anything," I vowed.
          Every summer became  more exciting than the prior.  I would get a
     new lizard, learn more about them, and take  him everywhere I went.  I
     even  took him in the car once to  Kansas when mom and I drove down to
     see her  sisters.    He loved  the  trip  and the  hot  weather.    He
     especially enjoyed the Kansas flies for supper I discovered.
          One day, when  I was still quite young, I learned my lizard could
     run.  That wasn't  the word for it.  They could  dark quickly from one
     side of the room to the other in a split second.  My lizards became my
     number one hobby.   I studied them  carefully and knew how  they could
     stay  in one position  for hours, if  need be, their  thin skin slowly
     changing colors to match  their current environment.   After remaining
     what  appeared to  be motionless  for prolonged  periods of  time, you
     suddenly realized they  had actually been moving closer  to their prey
     all the time.  Flicking their long  sticky tongue out, they would snag
     an  unsuspecting fly and make  it disappear so  fast, you could hardly
     believe there had even been a fly there in the first place.
          When I discovered how fast they could move, I took him out of the
     window one day without his string collar.   We had gotten so we  never
     used the  string collar much any more since he lived all summer in the
     closed window where  he could keep the window frame clean of flies and
     spiders for us.
          Getting on my knees, I would hold my lizard in my hand and slowly
     place  him on the  floor.  I would  speak to him  and encourage him to
     run.  Eventually,  he realized he wasn't  hooked to his string  and he
     would dart across the room.  I scrambled after him on  hands and knees
     as fast as  I could go.  He'd  stop, I'd pick him up  and talk to him,
     and then would sit  him on the floor pointing in  the other direction.
     He eventually would dart across the room with me on hands and knees in
     hot pursuit.  Man, was I having fun.
          I can remember this day as clearly  as any memory in my life.  It
     was fun  watching my pet lizard darting back  and forth in my mother's
     living room, and the fact he would let me pick him up now and hold him
     and talk  to him was thrilling, to say the least, to a 6 year old boy.
     Then tragedy struck.
          My  lizard was  on the  floor  next to  me.   I  was excited  and
     encouraging  him to,  "1, 2, 3,  go!"   I had  to repeat  it sometimes
     because he didn't always run when I instructed him.  Sometimes I might
     have to poke him  gently in the side until he got  the message.  Bang!
     He shot  across the room  faster than ever  before and I  chased in on
     hands and knees.  This time, he stopped after only a yard  or so and I
     was going way too fast.  You guessed it.  I squashed  my little friend
     flat as a pancake with one of my  knees.  My mother came running it to
     see what was  wrong.  She tried  everything to console me  but nothing
     worked.   We  couldn't go get  another one  because the fair  had left
     town.  I circled  the outside of our house for hours crying and crying
     and repeating over and over again, "I  killed my best friend; I killed
     my best friend."
          Few people could identify  with such a story but to  me, all such
     creatures were wonderful.  Snakes, frogs, crickets, bugs of all types,
     minnows, small  bullheads we kept in a trash  can full of water, cats,
     dogs, horses,  birds, rabbits,  squirrels, butterflies,  dragon flies,
     fish  of all  sizes,  grasshoppers, bumble  bees,  honey bees,  worms,
     caterpillars, ants,  tadpoles, animals  of all sizes,  and just  about
     anything else you might  want to name,  I liked.   I liked to  collect
     them, watch them, and see how  they lived.  So, when I killed  my most
     favorite pet of all, the chameleon, I was as crushed as he  was laying
     on that living room floor.
          This memory  was not  just mine alone;  it was  well known  by my
     whole family.  It  was often mentioned during family get togethers and
     it was talked about how upset I was and how I roamed around and around
     the outside of our  home as I cried and repeated  over and over again,
     "I killed my best friend."
          This memory often came  to mind, too.   I never disliked it  as a
     memory but  it was the deep sorrow I felt  as a little boy killing the
     thing that I loved so much.  Still, I never thought there was anything
     wrong with this  memory.  After all,  it was just a memory  and it had
     been an  accident.   Then why  did the  memory return  to my  thoughts
     hundreds of times over the years?
          Recently,  this memory  came to  mind and  it dawned  on me  that
     perhaps there  was  something there  the Lord  wanted me  to  see.   I
     briefly stopped what I was doing, and said, "Lord, is  there something
     in this childhood reoccurring memory I need to know about?"  I watched
     the  memory play out in my mind.  I  saw the carnage I had created.  I
     felt the hot tears, the  broken heart, and the horrible disappointment
     that it would be an entire year before I could get another pet lizard.
     I let myself see  the lifeless body of  the tiny lizard.  I  watched a
     little broken hearted boy walk around and around the house as he cried
     and cried wishing his little friend could come back.
          Suddenly,  as I viewed  the memory in  my mind, Jesus  said in my
     thoughts, "How did you feel?"
          "Broken and alone," I said in my own thoughts woodenly.
          "Why?" I heard his question form in my thoughts.
          I knew He was not accusing me or trying to  point out it was just
     an accident.   That would  not have,  then, or  now made  me feel  any
     better.   So  I looked  into the memory  again and  saw myself  in the
     living room and  felt the  revulsion of  the dead body  of the  little
     lizard.  In my thoughts, I  whispered the little thoughts of a  sadden
     boy, "Because I loved him."
          I  know most reading this  story won't believe  what I'm about to
     say now nor  do I care.  What  Jesus spoke to me at  that very moment,
     however, broke some bondage  in my life that I never  knew existed and
     blocked the  love  Jesus has  for me.    When Jesus  asked me  why,  I
     realized the pain I felt as a  little boy was a golden opportunity for
     the  Enemy to plant bad seed, that is,  a lie of some kind in a little
     boy's thoughts.   So I looked around  in the memory and saw  the truth
     for what it was.  I loved my little lizard as only a little boy could.
     No one  really cared  how much  I loved  my pet  lizard.   At least  I
     thought  no one  cared.   When  I  saw what  the Enemy  was  trying to
     destroy, the love a little boy had in his heart  for something as ugly
     as a lizard, I heard Jesus say, "I loved him, too."
          As you  read this  simple child's story  of how  one of  his pets
     died, and for whose death he was responsible, it would be easy to miss
     the point of  the story.   Yes, it is  true that Jesus  loves all  his
     creation.  How could  He not as  the Creator of all  things.  When  he
     spoke to  me as I dug into  the painfulness of this memory,  I saw the
     little boy in  the living room, his  pet dead at his feet,  but I also
     saw Jesus standing  to the side of  that little boy, bending  over and
     saying,  "I loved him, too."  He meant,  of course, "I loved him, too,
     just like you  loved him."  The words Jesus spoke in my mind, however,
     were far beyond His love  for that tiny lizard.  Jesus  was saying, "I
     love you, little  boy, and I  love what you love.   I want to  be with
     you.  I want to do what you do.  I want to be  your friend.  I want to
     love you."
          17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in
     the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
     18   There  is no  fear in  love; but  perfect love casteth  out fear:
     because fear  hath torment.   He that feareth  is not made  perfect in
     love,  (First John 4:17-18).
          A few weeks after writing this testimony, circumstances triggered
     some very  deep pain and sorrow.  I  felt strongly alone and isolated.
     I was afraid Jesus wasn't going to come  through for me.  Doubts tried
     to darken  my future, not  to mention, my  very relationship  with the
     Lord.
          In  the midst  of all this  grief and  sorrow I was  feeling, the
     story of my  little pet lizard returned  to my thoughts time  and time
     again.  In  total frustration one day,  I said, "Lord, if  you weren't
     going to come through for me, why did you identify yourself with me in
     the memory of my pet lizard?"  It was  a rhetorical question because I
     knew  the answer.  You  see, the Love Jesus had  for me personally, in
     the healing  of this memory,  came exploding through from  Jesus right
     into my heart, with such force, I could feel His presence  both inside
     me and on the outside at the same time.
          I'll  even go  one step further  now that I  have experienced the
     renewing of this broken painful memory several hundred times.  I can't
     describe it any other way.  Some will disagree with what I am about to
     say theologically  but I see the theology of  it clearer now more than
     ever.    When  this memory  flashes  back  into my  mind,  I  not only
     instantly see Jesus  standing next to me,  which I never used  to see,
     but  I now  feel something  happening,  too.   The feeling  is  like a
     superimposing that is flashing  back and forth as well as  in and out.
     It is like flipping a coin high into the air.  The images on the front
     and back sides of the coin change places so rapidly, you cannot see it
     happening but your  brain tells you that is  indeed what is occurring.
     That's right.   In my experience,  I suddenly and  instantly am inside
     Jesus and then back inside myself.  Then Jesus is  in me and back into
     Himself.  This happens at light speed in my thoughts but I can feel it
     and my brain knows  it is happening.  "Hereby know we that we dwell in
     him, and he in  us, because he hath  given us of his Spirit,"  (1 John
     4:13).  This is the identification experience that few Christians ever
     experience.  I  recently heard that Albert Einstein said, "There is no
     knowledge without  experience."  I was  raised that feeling was  to be
     avoided at all costs concerning our relationship with God.  The Bible,
     the Word of God, was the only source by which to be guided.   Frankly,
     I still believe  this today but I  have learned how much  closer Jesus
     wants to be and when He  gets that close, you are going  to experience
     something.  Get it?  That means you will feel something no matter what
     anybody has told you.
          As  I  said,  when  the   recent  discouragement  came,  my  mind
     immediately  began searching  for the  cause.   The  picture of  Jesus
     standing in the memory with me  when my lizard died continuing flashed
     off and on  in my thoughts.   Theologically,  based upon Scripture,  I
     knew  that the Lord, in all  of His eternal sovereignty, wouldn't have
     healed this  painful memory unless He had more for me.  I said exactly
     that in my thoughts  as I prayed mentally.  To  my total surprise, the
     answer  I got wasn't at all what I  had expected.  In my thoughts, the
     Lord said, "You know,  What?  When you  get here to Heaven, the  first
     thing I am going to  give you is another  little green lizard."   This
     response blew everything  out of the  water, sort of speak,  because I
     realized, all Jesus was  doing was reaffirming His love for  me in the
     most spiritual intimate and simplistic of  terms.  In other words,  He
     was saying, "He still loves me and to prove it, He  identified Himself
     with me.
          Now, how about you.  Did you know Jesus wants to identify Himself
     with you?  Have you experienced, notice, I did not ask if you know but
     I said, have you experienced  His love for you?  It's true,  you know.
     He  is so close to you  right now, He wants  you to feel His presence.
     Yes, I  know  how circumstances  and doubts  and lies  block you  from
     feeling Him.  That  He can, and will, do something about.  If you need
     help, let me know.