“God sets the solitary in families.” (Psalm 68:6)
I kept thinking of this scripture when I read “My Best Friend’s Funeral: A Memoir” by Roger W. Thompson. There are so many reasons I loved this book. Probably because I could relate to the author’s propensity to isolation and struggle with loneliness.
I had been to the places featured in the book such as Ventura, CA, the
author’s hometown as well as Franklin, TN, the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierras. The memoir is a story of his 20-year plus friendship with Tim who changed his life. Roger and Tim were skaters, surfers and musicians who walked together through Tim’s dad’s struggle with alcoholism and Roger’s dad’s death.
Roger was 13 when his dad died from suicide, which he believed at the time. His father dying and going to a new junior high school took place at the same time. Having your father die and going to a new school sets up the episode with being the lost lonely boy in the crowd.
Tim and Roger both struggled with fatherlessness although Tim’s father was alive. I could relate to the feeling of fatherlessness even though I had a dad who influenced me as a writer and my stepfather who raised me. They were both fathers by title but distant in relationship.
Roger doesn’t hold any punches back as he describes in glaring detail
their brief struggle with alcoholism. “I followed familiar ruts into a murky fear until, from childhood memories of my father, I recognized a path I was on. I looked forward and backward, and couldn’t see any way off. The footsteps were closing in, and as I ran, I heard the cracks of twigs, felt the unsure footing of shifting sand, and felt the sensation of falling. When I came to, I looked into the mirror and saw my father’s bloodshot eyes staring back at me.”
Through this despair and struggle, God sends Roger a friend, Clint who invites him to church camp. Roger’s description of that episode and his encounter with God brought back my own memories of church camp in the Sierras.
Eventually Tim and Roger realize a childhood dream of building a world- renowned skate park and meeting famous people. Building businesses and families together, they have created a portrait of a godly friendship that I admire. These types of friendships are rare and a once-in-a-lifetime treasure.
I don’t want to give away the story. I want to encourage you to buy this book. Everyone who has left lost and forgotten will be encouraged by Roger’s story of finding a life-long friend and how God delicately wove in His hand through his journey of faith. When it didn’t look like God was any where around, He was closer then Roger realized.