Mike Cope's blog

Friday, February 04, 2005

It's been a blessing of my ministry that I've had so many kind offers through the years to travel to speak. But it's something I've fought, too. Everything sounds wonderful, but I can't live on the road--not with a family at home. I know there have been times that I've disappointed people, but that's better than disappointing Diane or the kids. At times I wonder, Isn't it funny at all the plane tickets that are purchased to take one minister from point A to point B, and another minister from B to C, and still another from C to A. Have you ever wondered what it might be like if we just quit doing that and used the money to help support missions or to feed and house the poor? Traveling is enticing. It's the easy stuff, really. You get to talk to people whom you don't have to live in relationship with. And they aren't people who listen to you all the time so they tend to be more affirming. (No complaints here--it's just human nature to take people around you for granted. Unfortunately, I do this, too.) But there are some times I've been VERY thankful for all the kind invitations I've turned down. Like when Megan died . . . and when Matt graduated . . . and when we celebrated our 25th anniversary (5/03) . . . and on the morning of 1/17 when we were waiting to see if Chris would wake up and respond to people. At all of those times (and many others!), I've been very thankful that for every invitation I accepted I turned many others down. Really, I shouldn't sound so darn heroic. I love being home. I love being with Diane, with Chris (and formerly with Matt and Megan), with my friends, with my church. I'm fortunate that I've had sane people around me--including my assistant, Gina--to help me remember that joy. - - - - Winterfest. To be honest, Chris really didn't want to go. He didn't know anything about it. And neither did I for that matter. I've never been. But I've heard good things about it. And the best part would be a weekend to bond with the youth group from Highland--especially in Chris's first year in the group (6th grade). It's been one of a hundred things I've rolled around in my mind. "Why did I tell him we wanted him to go?" Also, why did he have to be in that car? Why on a clear, uncrowded day on I-20? (Even as a constant worrier, I didn't think anything about it because it's such a straight shot from the Metroplex to Abilene . . . good weather . . . ten cars traveling together.) But, you know what? It does no good to second guess. There's no point in asking why I insisted that he go. He went. What happened happened. Isn't that true of much of life? Second-guessing is such a popular game. But at the end of the day, you have to deal with life as it has unfolded. We had a fairly good report yesterday. We waiting a long time to see the neurosurgeon, but weren't even close to getting in. If we stayed longer, we would have missed the main appointment (with the BONE GUY), so we said, "Sorry, but we've come from Abilene and we can't miss this other appointment." We really like the orthopedic surgeon. He took some more x-rays and gave another good long-term report. But what we found out is that what HE meant by short-term and what Chris and I were thinking he meant by short-term were two different things. Translation: no baseball this year. I know, I know: it could have been so much worse. But to a kid who loves to pitch, this was not good news. We came right back to reality, of course, when we stopped by the Bourlands on the way home just to hug their necks. These are incredibly sweet people right down in the gutter of grief. We know the feeling all too well.

5 Comments:

  • thanks mike for all the great info you have been feeding us. our hearts are truly with you, diane, and chris. we, too, are going to have to miss seeing you in action. we were planning to be at 'stream 2005' to hear you speak. i know that it will be awesome, but my freshman daughter will be going on a trip with her youth group to tampa for 'daughters of the King.' we will miss hearing first hand how things are for the copes.
    your youth group is definitely in our prayers.

    By Blogger k2, at 2/04/2005 05:33:00 AM  

  • Mike, there have been times in this baseball-crazy town that people have discussed a late-season or even winter baseball league. I think this year might be the year if it conicides with the return to health of the guys. I nominate Steve Hare as commissioner. After seeing the outreach from the other churches in Abilene, I wonder if it could even be a church league? I know Connor would play all year long if he could.

    By Blogger Val, at 2/04/2005 05:45:00 AM  

  • Mike - Maybe this will be some good news. I have it from a pretty good source, the Abilene Junior/Senior League Treasurer who happens to live with me, that they're pushing the birthdate back. He said that it will allow Chris to still play two years of Jr/Sr League. If it had been instituted for this year, Chris would have still been eligible for another year of majors, if he'd wanted.

    About Winterfest. I hope Chris remembers how much fun we had and how incredibly good the actual event was. These kids had such a great time. I just keep remembering their faces along the way - at worship - in the "prayer room" - at the audio a concert - at all the different sessions - the laughter sticks with me. Bean and Bailey. The mouth guy. Jeff Walling. The pirates. The fun at the hotel - even lunch together at Taco Bueno. I'm trying to get their faces at these events to be the overwhelming memory but there are other faces I can't seem to override. So I know it's hard for the kids to do the same - to remember the good parts. I pray as time goes by we all will. I know Geof and I would go back. Max isn't so sure yet. And that makes me sad. We all just need some time I guess. So try to get Chris to tell you about Winterfest when he's ready. And, oh yeah, have you listened to Wedgie Tales yet?

    By Blogger Candy, at 2/04/2005 06:30:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    As you know, my dad is a preacher. He was a very popular speaker when I was a child. One year he was scheduled to speak at a large event on the 4th of July. After some soul searching, he called the event planners and told them he couldn't come. They asked why. He said he'd be taking his kids to see the fire works. After that, he was more guarded in his traveling decisions. He did continue to travel and speak on occasion - but with a better balance, and with ego in check.

    I am so thankful for his decision that year, and continued commitment to our family in the coming years. Now married with our own children - my brother is a missionary in Mexico - My sister has done full-time ministry for a church in Atlanta, and continues her ministry while raising her children - and I am a preacher in Arkansas.

    I'm confident you'll never regret those occasions you chose to stay home.

    Dusty

    By Blogger Dusty, at 2/04/2005 06:42:00 AM  

  • "It does no good to second guess. There's no point in asking why..." Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I must confess I lose patience with the people around me who dwell on "why". They seem determined to fit their perception of God's will into their circumstances, or vice versa. When my daughter was involved in an emotionally devastating car accident, the only question that helped was "How?". How can I ease her pain, how can I reassure her, how can I help her heal, how can I bring that light back into her eyes? Those were the questions I desperately needed answers to as I prayed/cried myself to sleep. My gracious God somehow used my messed up self, and others, to help my daughter and I know He will continue to use you and all those around you to help Chris and everyone else who was touched by this accident.

    By Blogger Lisa McD in FL, at 2/04/2005 07:05:00 AM  

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