I recently received a letter that really encouraged me, and would like to use it in place of my monthly article.
It makes me very happy to know that a poem has spoken to a need and was an encouragement in someone's life. In place of this month's article I have reprinted Rev. Randy's email and my answer to him.
Rev. Randy's email to me:
I sure hope that this e-mail gets to you! This is Pastor Randy Evans from Grace Christian Fellowship in Largo, Florida (actually, I live in Clearwater, which is the next town over).
I can't believe that I found you online! I should've tried a long time ago. Many, many years ago - (it had to be the middle 70's) I came across a poster that had your poem If Only I Had Known printed on it. I think it came with some Sunday School material that I might have been using back in the Nazarene Church I was saved at. I was teaching the Senior Citizens group (I was 20 years old - I was studying gerontology in college). I'm a pastor now and I wanted you to know that your poem has had such a profound effect on me. I was so moved by it that I wrote it in the back of my Bible (along with your name) and have quoted it to people and in sermons many, many times (always giving you credit!!). I never realized that you were a writer until I popped your name in a Yahoo search engine!
The reason I even thought to do so was because my wife was working on a Bible study that she's a part of and she asked me about the poem (she's heard me quote it so often) because she wanted to share it with the ladies at her study tomorrow. After I gave her the quote I thought I'd take a chance and see if you were mentioned online - and lo and behold - I struck the motherlode of Nancy Spiegelberg stuff!! I look forward to reading more of your poems.
I guess the reason I'm writing (besides letting you know what a wonderful impact that little poem has had on me) but I was wondering in what other forms may I possibly purchase the poem (poster, card, plaque, etc.). I sure hope to hear back from you.
This was my reply to him:
Dear Rev. Randy,
It is good to hear from you about how you have used "If Only I Had Known You". It was published years ago in Billy Graham's Decision Magazine, and in a poetry collection done by Multnomah Press, Fanfare: A Celebration of Belief but that book now is out of print. I'm so very glad that you have used the poem, and that it is meaningful to you. It makes me happy to know that you have shared it with others.
The interesting thing is that you remember the version with the waterfall. I had printed out some poems on stationery I'd bought at Staples, and gave them away or sold them. I no longer have any copies as such. What you had seen, very well could have been in a magazine or take-home paper, as I did submit several poems to various religious publishers.
However, the poem has been used many times with a bucket graphic done by Thommas Simmons. You will find that version on the page of Greeting Cards.
Also, there is another version with a waterfall on my site's Poetry page, as number 13. It is not the original with the light blue waterfall, but on a yellow background.
Please feel free to copy either of those. If you would like the calligraphy version in laminated form, or as greeting cards, you could just drop me an e-mail to tell me what you want. Or, you could order through the Shopping Cart.
It might interest you to know that the poem has been used in the first prayer guide for Promise Keepers, and in books by William Carr Peel, Dr. Gary Oliver, and Dr. Erwin Lutzer.
Your e-mail has come as a bright spot of encouragement. I now live in a C&MA assisted living facility. I don't get out much because of increasing pain and weakness. I'd appreciate your prayers about my compiling my poems for a possible new poetry book. That will take a lot of work, and a willing publisher.
Thanks so much! Please give my best wishes to your wife and to her Bible study group. God bless you.