I Killed My Best Friend

                               By Phil Scovell

                           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

          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.

                               End Of Document

     Safe Place Fellowship
     Phil Scovell
     Denver, Colorado - Mountain Time Zone
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