Mike Cope's blog

Thursday, January 27, 2005

"I'm tired of this." "I wish this didn't happen." Very simple statements from my son this morning, but I understand. To borrow Seder language, "If only he had cracked a couple ribs, dayenu [that would have been enough]." "If only he had cracked a couple ribs and a thumb, dayenu." "If only he had cracked a couple ribs, a thumb, and a vertebrae, dayenu." "If only he had cracked a couple ribs, a thumb, a vertebrae, and a skull (slight fracture at base of skull), dayenu." But to go with all that is a sore butt and a headache. The "bone guy" (translation: pediatric orthopedic surgeon) said that after three months, he ought to be brand new. But three months to a twelve year old boy in the middle of his basketball season and right before baseball begins is like a decade to me. When we first saw him in the E. R. at Hendrick here in Abilene (before he was flown to Cook's), he was hardly recognizable. He had been beaten horribly. When he heard our voices, he began crying uncontrollably. I leaned over and whispered in his ear the words I've said to him at bedtime a thousand times: Love that boy. Like a rabbit loves to run, I said I love that boy. Like a rabbit loves to run. Love to see him in the morning. Love to say, "Good mornin', son." Then, for the moment, he calmed down. My prayers for the previous hour had been fairly simple: "Please, God. Please, God. Please, God. Please, God." I think you'd expect more from a 48-year-old minister. But that's about all that would come. As I leaned over him, not knowing yet how serious his internal injuries were, nothing profound came. So I prayed the same words I say over every baby born at Highland: "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be on you always." Sometimes familiar words fit the best.


  • Mike,

    This makes me think of what Anne Lamott suggests are the only three real prayers:

    "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you..."




    I'm guessing you've uttered a variation of each of those in the last 10 days.

    The boys are anxious to come see Chris when he's up to it. See you Sunday.

    By Blogger Grant, at 1/27/2005 07:33:00 AM  

  • Why all of this happened I have not a clue, but thank you for sharing your heart. I too am a father. I have a 20 year old son and daughter who is 23. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. They are helpful beyond words, and have really been a blessing to me as a father. I am so thankful that Chris is on the road to full recovery. Grace and peace.

    By Blogger RC, at 1/27/2005 07:43:00 AM  

  • I don't know why I keep reading this blog. All I do is wipe away tears as I walk away. Yes, I do know. Because I am drawn to the throne of God and who doesn't long for that? Thanks, again, Mike.

    By Blogger Frankie, at 1/27/2005 07:56:00 AM  

  • Thanks for being SO honest. You help to make me a better father! We are all still praying.

    By Blogger TCS, at 1/27/2005 08:19:00 AM  

  • "Sometimes familiar words fit the best."

    Amen, Mike. Amen.

    "As you are outwardly anointed with this holy oil, so may our heavenly Father grant you the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit. Of his great mercy, may he forgive you of your sins, release you from suffering, and restore you to wholeness and strength. May he deliver you from all evil, preserve you in all goodness, and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Book of Common Prayer, p.456.)

    By Blogger Jared Cramer, at 1/27/2005 08:30:00 AM  

  • My guess is you are repeating to Chris what you have heard your Heavenly Father whispering in your ear in dark and tough times.

    I hope the next 3 months fly by!

    Your transparency is humbling.
    We continue to pray in Searcy as a community.
    Love you,

    By Blogger David U, at 1/27/2005 08:33:00 AM  

  • Mike-
    Ok--over the past 2 weeks I have cried more than I remember crying in a long time. I've cried for you, and with you. I've cried over the distance between the Thomas family and Abilene..wanting so desperately to be there. Today the tears were different. Such a sweet post. Thank you. Thanks for being such a great dad to your kids. Thanks for always reminding me what a great dad I had and encouraging me to be one too. You're a joy on this journey, my friend. Contined prayers for all of you.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 1/27/2005 08:34:00 AM  

  • Oh Mike! My heart literally lurched inside reading today's post! Chris is just a little boy who needs his sweet dad and mom! I just know God is using HIS wonderful hands to heal him and all the others who were wounded in the accident--physically and emotionally. We keep lifting you all up before Our Maker.

    By Blogger annie, at 1/27/2005 09:00:00 AM  

  • Ah, the warmth and familiarity of liturgy -- especially bedtime liturgies with our kids! Mike, thanks for sharing your heart here. As one of the guys who had a hand in putting Winterfest together this year, I was so consumed with the event itself. We sometimes joke behind the scenes: "It's all about the kids." We say that to each other as a joke. But a tragedy like this...well.... Let's just say I won't go into Gatlinburg the same way.

    By Blogger john alan turner, at 1/27/2005 09:32:00 AM  

  • "Personal authenticity will be characteristic of this new breed of leaders." -- Brian McLaren, The Church on the Other Side, chapter 9.

    Thanks for the authenticity you write with and pastor with. It's an incredible example. May the God of all comforts be exactly that for your family.

    By Blogger Adam, at 1/27/2005 10:46:00 AM  

  • What a sweet and beautiful post...it brought tears to my eyes as I am sitting in the library at ACU! Just by reading these posts, I can truly feel the love you have for your son, your family, and for God-you are truly an inspiration! Thanks for allowing God's love to pour out through you and thanks for being so transparent, even to strangers...it is a blessing. Prayers continue to be lifted up!

    "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows". ~2 Corinthians 1:3-5

    By Blogger Katherine, at 1/27/2005 10:46:00 AM  

  • From hard things, we may learn lasting lessons. I don't know if anyone said that before, but if not, you can quote me!

    I pray that Chris learns patience, and a sense of how special life and freedom of movement can be. And I pray he learns how God consoles us through difficult times.

    Thanks for sharing your heart during this tough time, Brother Mike. You are always in my prayers.

    By Blogger Tim Castle, at 1/27/2005 11:34:00 AM  

  • "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be on you ALL always"

    Our family has prayed without ceasing since that Sunday. We are a phone call away if you need anything.

    We send our love, prayers of abundant blessings and healing to you, Diane and Chris.

    Love, Debbie (Mark and Katie, too)

    By Blogger Debbie, at 1/27/2005 11:42:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    We've not met though my two eldest attended Highland when they were at ACU. My name is Stu Hardman. I'm an elder at Conejo Valley Church of Christ in Thousand Oaks, CA. My wife, Mary Jo, and I have been thinking of you and the entire Highland family ever since we heard this terrible news.

    Our son Taylor was one of the Conejo kids involved in the accident in '03 on the way to a Youth Group weekend. We were lucky in that Taylor was injured but was able to recover.

    I wouldn't presuppose to know how you feel but I do know what it feels like to endure what you have and will face. I also know the comfort and joy you are experiencing in these trying times because you are loved and supported by so many of our brothers and sisters. I can tell you for a fact that Taylor's successful recovery was a direct result of the the love and care showered on all of us during our toughest times by the folks at Conejo, at Pepperdine and across the country.

    Please know that we think of you every day and pray for the day your son is standing at the plate ready to launch one into the deepest recesses of the outfield.

    God bless you all.

    By Blogger Stu H @ Pepperdine, at 1/27/2005 12:32:00 PM  

  • Psalm 73:23,24 - Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to glory.

    May God continue to heal Chris and all of the accident victims. Our family prays that His spirit guides the rest of us to be of assistance in restoring health and well being for all.

    Please let us know if there is anything we can do.

    By Blogger Robyn, at 1/27/2005 03:13:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    You mentioned some Zoe music that had ministered to you. I don't know what genre of music Chris enjoys but the new FFH cd "Still the Cross" has at least two songs that talk about being hit from the blind side in your faith that he might relate to right now (Cover Me & All Part of the Walk).
    Also, I wanted to add a few of my favorite short prayers that haven't been listed yet :
    sorry - Your love - Your strenth - Your peace
    Glad you all are home!
    Jill Davis

    By Blogger Davis, at 1/27/2005 03:19:00 PM  

  • "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." - Philippians 4:8

    Often these words fall short of our grasp, until we are given or presented with an opportunity that forces us to deal with them. I am humbled by your honesty and the blessing you have given to each of us by sharing your families struggle, as well as the peace that has passed all understanding through this. I have only been attending Highland for about five months, yet what I have seen, read and experienced there has redefined for me what We are to be as the church forever. Continued blessings and mercies to you, your family and to the others who have been impacted by these events.

    "The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit"
    Philippians 4:23

    By Blogger Donald Philip Simpson, at 1/27/2005 07:03:00 PM  

  • I don't think I have an expectation of what 48-year-old ministers should say under dire circumstances. But, I am glad to know that 48-year-old ministers still utter two-word dependency phrases for the God of grace to honor. Those "Please, God" moments sure keep our ears more finely tuned. And it warms my heart that God honored your dependency on Him.

    By Blogger WDS, at 1/27/2005 07:47:00 PM  

  • As I sat a few moments ago in my dimly-lit nursery feeding my little boy I rocked, and wept, and prayed for sons. I prayed for healing for Chris; I prayed for healing for Ira Hays, unborn son of dear friends Joe and Laura Hays, and I prayed for my sweet son Levi who was safe and protected in my arms, for the moment. Though not acquainted with such grief as you and Diane have experienced in recent days, I realize that at some point my tiny boy will hurt, and I pray with a mother's fierceness that the steadfastness of the Lord will cover him. I pray this for Chris, and for Ira, and for Levi tonight.

    By Blogger Allison, at 1/27/2005 08:29:00 PM  

  • Just when I think you have jerked every last tear from the ducts, you manage to squeeze out a few more! Mike, Thank you a thousand times for your openess and your sharing heart. You inspire and prod me towards the Father almost eveytime I visit here. Your blog is quickly becoming sacred ground. (Can guacamole be sacred?)

    The road is long but certian. In the words of the lovely Mary Poppins, a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down. I bet you will be the best basketball and baseball fan Franklin Junior High ever had!(It is still Franklin isn't it?) AND sooner than you think, you will be a player again!

    Still praying, praying, praying!

    By Blogger SG, at 1/27/2005 10:07:00 PM  

  • SG - It was actually Megan who was your little charge when you were at ACU, but Chris was also part yours. So your presence there meant a lot to us. Chris would want you to get this right, though. He's a Lincoln Longhorn. :) Austin, his buddy who was one door away on the fourth floor, goes to Franklin. And Jon Weston, his buddy who was a couple more doors away, is at Madison.

    Thanks, everyone, for those touching words. I'm especially moved by those who are hugging their own children tighter and who are praying more fervently for all the little children of the world.

    By Blogger Mike, at 1/28/2005 03:20:00 AM  

  • Bless you, Mike Cope. You are certainly a blessing to all of us.

    Still praying for Chris and the others.

    By Blogger Jana, at 1/28/2005 06:26:00 AM  

  • Bless Chris's heart. A couple of years ago I was seriously ill in the hospital for about a month, and almost daily I would make those exact same comments: "I'm tired of this. I wish this didn't happen." Oftentimes they were spoken through tears and many times out of exhaustion. I was 21 rather than 12 at the time of my illness, and it breaks my heart that someone so young should be facing so much. However it is evident that he has an amazing support system, which makes all the difference in the world. I will say a special prayer for him tonight, that he will have the courage and strength and spirit to face each step on the road of recovery.
    As we say in Japan, "Gambatte Chris!"

    By Blogger ann, at 1/28/2005 07:46:00 AM  

  • Oops ~ My bad! Hookem Horns! :)

    By Blogger SG, at 1/28/2005 07:54:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    What a sweet, tender and intimate moment you have shared with us. Thanks for comforting us all. Blessing to you, Chris and Diane. sd

    By Blogger SkipD, at 1/28/2005 09:14:00 AM  

  • I have been reading your blog since this all began. I too am a 48 year old father and fully understand the simple prayer; 'Please God' and I beleive that the Spirit does interpret our groanings and that God knows all we can't bring ourselves to say. Know that Chris has family in Gulfport, Ms. praying for him daily.

    By Blogger Bill, at 1/28/2005 09:23:00 AM  

  • I'm having trouble seeing the monitor on my computer. I can imagine my own son coming in battered like that, and get a glimpse of what it must have been like. You are blessed to have him, and he is blessed to have you.

    Our prayers continue to be with you, the Bourlands, and the driver and all the families involved.

    By Blogger don, at 1/28/2005 12:28:00 PM  

  • "My prayers for the previous hour had been fairly simple: "Please, God. Please, God. Please, God. Please, God." I think you'd expect more from a 48-year-old minister. But that's about all that would come."

    As far as I know, that's one of the best prayers possible. "God, you're in charge. I give up." Or, "Please, God. Please, God. Please, God."

    Sounds exactly like the earnest words of a hurting heart. And that in itself is a sort of wisdom.

    By Blogger Q, at 1/29/2005 02:44:00 PM  

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