The phone rang twice, and then I heard Johnny Lawson’s voice say a raspy, “Hello.” I said, “I just called to see if you’re still among the living.” He replied, “Hi Stan, I still recognize your voice after all of these years.”
Johnny was my immediate supervisor when I reported for duty at Peterson Field, in Colorado Springs. I had one measly stripe sewn to my shirt sleeve and a big mouth that kept getting me into trouble. Fortunately, Johnny’s uniform was lined with stripes, and he had my back.
Each year when October makes its appearance on the calendar. I think quite a bit about Johnny. I’ve called this fine man my friend for the past 43 years.
Johnny did more than save my hide, he was also instrumental in saving my soul. Through the wonderful kindness of him and his family, I came to know Jesus as my Savior.
When I think of Johnny, I think of the way Solomon spoke of friends:
- Some friends may ruin you, but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother (Proverbs 18:24)
- A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times (Proverbs 17:17)
- In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend (Proverbs 27:17).
I have to agree with Charles Spurgeon, “Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial, had they not found a friend.”
In October of 1972, Johnny Lawson walked into the emergency where I was being treated for a severe head injury. Over the next month, he and his family went far beyond the call of duty to help nurse me back to health.
Had this friend not found me, I might have failed beneath the bitterness of my trial. Johnny Lawson is my definition of what a friend is to be.