Mike Cope's blog

Monday, April 25, 2005

A few more thoughts about Chris and Austin after watching them side-by-side at Passover last night. For the sixth straight year (so they claim), one of them found the hidden afikomen -- worth a bit more last night with "Uncle" Randy Harris providing the reward cash. They used to agree that if one of them found it, they'd split the money 50-50. Last year they decided that while they should work together there should still be some extra reward for actually finding the hidden treasure. So now they have a 70-30 agreement. Winner gets 70% of the haul; partner gets 30%. These boys were born just a month or two apart in 1992. And they've been buddies ever since. One loves music and likes sports. The other loves sports and likes music. The former has perfect pitch, a father who was a band director, and a mother who is an incredible classical pianist. The latter has parents who think the best musical instrument is a Bose speaker. The parents of the first child love all sorts of music, especially classical. The parents of the latter consider classical music to be the Eagles, CCR, and the best of Buffett. One of the boys has suffered the loss of a sister. The other has gone through the divorce of his parents. (I will say that it's been a divorce where he has continued to be completely loved by both parents, and where the parents have refused to turn against each other. They're in houses very close to each other so he and his sisters can walk back and forth.) On January 16, they were, not surprisingly, in the same vehicle coming back from WinterFest. One was taken by helicopter to Cook's. The other was taken by ambulance to Abilene and then flown in a plane to Cook's. They wound up side-by-side in ICU. It was just unbelievable, really. They had one little corner of that cavernous area. One nurse was assigned at each shift to the two of them. To make it easier to follow the vital signs, they would program the monitors so that each monitor had the numbers for both boys -- again, side-by-side. Last night as they sat across from me during Passover, I was so glad, so incredibly glad, that those places weren't empty this year. I've coached them both, I've preached to them both, and I've watched them together for the first twelve years of their lives. And I'm reminded of this: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Eccl. 4:9-10) Who knows if they'll always be friends? I'm guessing so. Of course they both have lots of other buds to hang around with too. (For the most part they haven't discovered girls -- at least I don't think they have. But what do I know? I am an aging preacher.) But this friendship goes back to the very beginning of their lives. Anyone out there have one of those friendships -- one that goes back to your earliest days and that has lasted through the years?

23 Comments:

  • Are you kiddin' me? ;) lol

    When one attemds 34 elementary schools, one middle school and 5 high schools in order to finish the simple K-12 basic schooling, it's a bit difficult to have a birth-through adulthood friendship.

    However, my dad was my best friend once I got through a very extended adolescent stage,[hanging red-faced head in shame]. PTL!! God has always been there, even when I wasn't. Praise Him and I'm so grateful!!!!

    By Blogger Kathy, at 4/25/2005 12:08:00 PM  

  • Mike, thanks for the wonderful post about friendship! I met Mike Mitchell when we were in the 5th grade, and I still consider him a good friend...even though we don't get to see each other very often. You folks in the Atlanta area please greet him for me! I met Jan at Wyldewood in the summer after my 5th grade......so we have been friends now for around 40 years! There are friends I made in Africa in Junior High that I still keep in touch with monthly. Ditto for some from friends from High School. Remember what the angel Clarence wrote in George Bailey's book at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life"? More importantly, remember what the Proverbs writer wrote in Proverbs 18:24 "But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother".

    Thanks for being my friend since 1974 when we were still wet behind the ears and attending club mixers together.

    "Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall....all you got to do is call! You've got a friend."

    By Blogger David U, at 4/25/2005 12:20:00 PM  

  • I, too, have been blessed with a friendship like the two boys. From second grade through college, we were basically inseperable. But even though hundreds of miles separate them and they see each other once or twice a year, their friendship is as true as it was those so many years ago. Nothing, not even hundreds or even thousands of miles, can break up a true friendship. Even if one lives in Abilene and one lives in Neosho, that bond will always be there.

    By Blogger Buzz, at 4/25/2005 12:42:00 PM  

  • I, too, have a friend from birth. There are pictures of the both of us at every single one of my birthday parties through the 12th grade. We went to school and church together and our families spent our vacations together. The first time we were really separated was college. She went to ACU, and I went to Harding. Now, she lives in Vermont, and I live in Oregon, but we still keep in touch and make trips to see each other. She is getting married in 2 weeks in Dallas, and we will all be there to help her celebrate. I can't wait!

    By Blogger jhp, at 4/25/2005 01:02:00 PM  

  • This comment doesn't have to do with friends, but it does have to do with Passover. Please indulge me.

    One week each year I teach Georgia history. My 8th grade students learn about the founding of Georgia and famous Georgians. Then we (the teachers and students) go spend 3 days in Savannah and see where it all happened. It is a great learning experience.

    My daddy (baseball nut that he is!) has prompted me to include baseball players in the section on famous Georgians. I now include Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, and Hank Aaron.

    So, what does this have to do with Passover? Well, one of my favorite Jackie Robinson stories is this... Jackie played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. Passover fell on the following Friday evening in 1947. It was on that Passover night in a Brooklyn home that a youngest son asked the ages-old question... "Why is this night different than all the other nights?" and promptly answered his own question, "Because tonight a black man is playing first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers!" Can you imagine the humor of that moment? And the importance of the historical events that took place in the same week?

    I must say, growing up in the Eddins house the Old Testament and Baseball were almost on equal footing. Moses and Jackie Robinson... pretty close!

    Thanks for the images of your Passover celebration! HOW COOL!

    By Blogger Mandy, at 4/25/2005 01:10:00 PM  

  • Mike - I love this post! I met a scraggly shy little girl in preshcool. We were 4. I was a scraggly, shy little girl too. We became best buds, and 35 years later we are still firm friends who have endured the divorce and death of parents, siblings as well as other crisis. She still lives in South Africa so the ocean seperates us. We thrive on email etc. Funny, whenever I am referring to her, I still say, "my best friend...."

    By Blogger Arlene Kasselman, at 4/25/2005 01:52:00 PM  

  • However young or old you are when you find them, friendships strong enough to last the years like that are amazing blessings. Mine is Mary Beth. We were born a month apart to the day. We met at the age of two at Otter Creek preschool in Nashville, and we were best friends. We both started elementary school at Lipscomb and stayed there till we graduated high school, not always being attached at the hip, but always loving each other and always having a strong friendship. Now we're 21, and she goes by Elizabeth, and we're still best friends. I'm at ACU and she's at Lipscomb University, but we look forward to seeing each other whenever I come back in town. Actually, right now she's living in my bedroom helping my parents take care of my grandmother, who has Parkinson's. It is so neat to come home and see her living there, right along with my family, when she's been practically family to me all along. It's a relationship I will always be grateful for, a direct blessing from God.

    By Blogger Tara, at 4/25/2005 05:54:00 PM  

  • What a sweet post. It's been precious to watch Chris and Austin's friendship bloom throughout the years. I still remember countless times that Diane would ask me to baby-sit for Chris and then call me again later to ask if it was okay if Austin came, too. Then I remember when she finally gave up asking every time because it was just assumed that I would be watching the boys together as both of your families attended Covenant Group. I still can't believe those boys are turning 13 this summer; I think they'll always be 5 in my heart! :) I, too, am one of the many people who are rejoicing that you did not have to set empty places for them at your Passover feast. And I love the image of "Uncle" Randy providing the reward cash for finding the afikomen! Thanks for making me smile today! I love you, Heather

    By Blogger Heather A, at 4/25/2005 06:21:00 PM  

  • Great post. I have a set of friends that I met when I was 17 years old. Now for more than half of my life we have been together in our journey. Interestingly, the two to which I am the closest are preachers. Three preachers ... and they both live within 90 minutes of me. I feel blessed.

    By Blogger JD, at 4/25/2005 07:00:00 PM  

  • I am blessed to have continued relationships with several of my childhood friends. As I watch my children grow, I am watching their friendships and wondering what will become of them as they age. There are some I want to encourage and others... well... discourage.

    Mandy,
    I hope you are teaching correct history and say that although Hank Aaron played for the Braves & also suffered greatly in playing in the minors in Georgia, he is actually from Mobile AL. :)

    By Blogger Steve Duer, at 4/25/2005 07:44:00 PM  

  • Yes--Kyle Dickson and I have pictures of each other at our 3rd or 4th birthday parties on up. Skiing, girls, pledging, finding God, losing a parent, finding our spouses, having children, introducing our children! All such wonderful memories.

    Now, Walling, I mean Cope--get on your email and write me.
    BST

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 4/25/2005 07:59:00 PM  

  • Closest I've got to earliest years is when I was 7 God brought Stan Carroll into my life. I doubt I'd be a Christian if it wasn't for Stan and his family. We are still friends to this day although we don't talk much since we moved from Ca to Tx.

    However, Mitch Wilburn and Grant Boone ... man ... talk about friends that I'd take a bullet for.
    We became friends in college and I talk to both of them at least 3 times a week. Living in Abilene the past 2 years has been such a blessing. I've gotten to see Grant so much! I can't imagine life without Mitch or Grant or Stan for that matter.

    Praise God for good friends.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 4/25/2005 08:32:00 PM  

  • My best friend since I can remember is Eric Ehlig. His dad and my dad were best friends and our families ended up at the same church in Baytown, TX. We always went to different schools, we were kind of like Austin and Chris in that we had different interests, he's tall and skinny, I'm short and chubby. By all accounts we shouldn't be that close. But we are. Eric was standing right next to me when I was baptized and when I was married and I was there for both of those same milestones in his life. As soon as I started reading this blog I started thinking of Eric, and that I need to call him. Austin and Chris have been through rougher times in their short life than Eric and I, but that guy who doesn't call you a wuss because you need a shoulder to cry on is the one who will be there forever. That's a special relationship. May God bless it as He's blessed Eric and I.

    By Blogger Kyle, at 4/25/2005 09:04:00 PM  

  • I have a cousin that is the same age as me. His mom and mine were and still are best friends, and it has passed right down to us. The funny thing is that since we were 2 we have never lived within a couple hours of each other, but that has never mattered, whenever we get together were inseperable.
    Thank you for that beautiful picture of those two boys this morning.

    By Blogger Brandon Moore, at 4/26/2005 06:27:00 AM  

  • I don't have any really close friends from birth. My sister Lisa had a friend down the street that has known me since birth, as well as numerous people from my home church. I did have a friend that I met in pre-school sometime. I thought we'd be friends forever, but once I hit middle school, we stopped talking. She was involved a lot with sports, and that took up a lot of her time. Then, the next closest frined I made was in 8th grade. Even now, we talk every week, although, it isnt that much because I am busy with college freshemn work, and she is busy with an almost one year old (whom I have deemed my nephew). Then there is Alex. I have known Alex since 3rd grade, but we didnt get really close until eleventh. I am thankful for our relationship.

    You never know who you may meet... I made a really good friend being here at ACU. She withdrew a few weeks ago, and it has been hard, but we still talk every so often. (this is when she has her phone on, or isnt asleep)

    Great post!

    By Blogger Emily, at 4/26/2005 07:10:00 AM  

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    By Blogger Emily, at 4/26/2005 07:11:00 AM  

  • Greg Pirtle and I have been best friends for over 29 years. I thinks that's impressive, considering he'll turn 30 in September and I will in November. Over the years, we've been together for every hurt and joy imaginable. And the opportunity to minister together, even though he's the only one getting paid, is an immeasuable blessing.

    The friends you can connect with after years apart, and feel as if there was no separation, are great. The ones that you never feel separated from are a gift from God.

    By Blogger Matt, at 4/26/2005 07:59:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    I just had a prayer request to share with you. My mom, Celia Tidmore, is the youth seceratary at Central Church of Christ in Amarillo, Tx. Last wednesday my Dad, Bruce, had surgery on his collar bone, and that same day my mom went to the doctor fr a couple of spots on her leg. The doctor said it was Cellulitus, an infection.
    My mom was admitted to the hospital on friday because of the infection. She was put on antibiotics, and the infection has cleared up but her tempature did not go down until last night, it finally broke. Well Now she has been shaking and they are going to have to do a CAT scan and some bone tests to see if something else is wrong with her.
    Meanwhile, my Dad is a district Chief for the fire department and is charge of safety. He hasn't been resting well after his surgery because of my mom being in the hospital, and Saturday night he was called because one of the firemen in town had fallen out of a firetrcuk on the way to a call. He landed on his head and my dad was at the hospital all of saturday night. The firemen died yesterday morning and it's been reall hard on my dad. With all thats happened he is drained physically and emotionally.
    I just needed prayers for my family and knew that you and all of the people that read this would be in prayer for them. Please pray they will find out whats wrong with my mom and that they will heal her, and just that God will watch over my dad and give him a sense of peace and calm, and that his collar bone will heal.
    Thanks and God Bless

    By Blogger Tidmore, at 4/26/2005 09:18:00 AM  

  • Travis - Please know that I and other readers will be praying for your family. "When it rains it pours." We will ask God for his comfort, his presence, and his healing. Mike

    By Blogger Mike, at 4/26/2005 09:31:00 AM  

  • My best friend is a girl I've known since the 1st grade. In fact, I have a great picture of our 2nd grade class, with me, her, and another close friend. It's amazing to me that at the ripe old age of 26, I have known my closest friends for 20 years. Not many people can say that at any age, and I consider myself especially blessed.

    By Blogger Tiffany, at 4/26/2005 10:43:00 AM  

  • Should preachers have close friends and confidants in the congregation? Looks like trouble to me. Better to keep your friends outside the congregation.

    By Blogger Unknown Preacher, at 4/26/2005 12:26:00 PM  

  • Though I have friendships that have lasted since kindergarten, this post made me think of my hopes for my daughter. My best friend and I had babies only 2 months apart. She had a boy, and I a girl. During the pregnancies we talked about how our children would be stuck together (whether they liked it or not) while we shopped, talked, hung out. We hoped that they would be friends like us. Right now they are 8 and 10 months old. Everytime they are together we are amazed at how well they interact with each other. I hope they become the kind of friends you talk about...or at least they both find that kind of friendship somewhere. I think everyone hopes that their child finds a true friend.

    By Blogger Kate, at 4/27/2005 07:10:00 AM  

  • Thanks for this post,Mike! My friend Chrystal and I have been friends since we were 5..and we still are. She lives down the street from me (for a few more months atleast) and we hang out all the time. And my friend Jill and I have been friends since we were 7. She lives in Dallas but we talk atleast once a day (usally more) and we go back and forth visiting eachother. I love them both!

    By Blogger Casey, at 4/27/2005 01:47:00 PM  

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