Mike Cope's blog

Friday, May 27, 2005

Finally, this week Chris was able to get back into carpool, for the last four days of school. He still can't carry a backpack, but one of his buddies lugged it in for him. So yesterday, the final Thursday of the year, I got to drive the gang for the first time since the wreck. And I was out of sync. I had forgotten the "Beach Boys." So we went with CCR, which I prefer but they don't. When they got out at noon (early release), I took them to Mr. Gatti's to celebrate. We were there with, apparently, most Abilene middle school students. One of the boys asked why there were policemen there. I wanted to know why the National Guard hadn't been called in. This was not the sixth grade year we anticipated. The fall went so well, and then that trip to Winterfest in January. It's all still a fuzz. Often I have to fight reliving the first disorienting hour, waiting for the ambulances to arrive. I don't know what's ahead for Chris. Despite being in Cook's for ten days, missing school through Spring Break, returning to school in a wheelchair, wearing a back brace, missing baseball -- despite all that, he has been amazing. Seldom has he thrown a pity party. He's moved from outside basketball, which he can't play yet, to inside basketball. (SEE, I KNEW MY BIG GOAL IN OUR LIVING ROOM BELONGED!) Every night we have a few games of "horse." This is sometimes followed by a little light saber practice. I can hardly bring myself to write this, but my little boy almost died in a Yukon just outside Putnam, TX. I'm so thankful he didn't.


  • Mike,
    A child teaches us so much about God, opening our eyes to His daily blessings and miricles.

    We pray that God continue to bless you and yours.

    By Blogger Jim, at 5/27/2005 04:56:00 AM  

  • I still cry thinking about it too! I am so glad God let you keep him!

    By Blogger DJG, at 5/27/2005 05:00:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Chris and your family are an inspiration to me, and I suspect, to your many blog readers. When you have written about Chris, I have often thought of Dave Dravecky
    (http://dave-dravecky.biography.ms/) and the courage and faith that he displayed during his battle with cancer.

    Sharing your story has motivated me to be more thankful and prayerful for my children.

    You are an inspiration as a preacher, writer, and most profoundly as a father. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 5/27/2005 05:34:00 AM  

  • Mike, I remember that first hour too. I actually saw in you a pain so deep that I wished God would come back right then. I don't pray that prayer often.

    Don't you love horse? There is something about the creative nature of the game that I'm drawn to. Anytime you can say, "off the roof..." while refering to your forthcoming shot is a bonus in my book.

    Kim and I were in charge of Emily's end of the year class party this week. At one point in the planning I almost verbalized to Kim, "let's have it at Gatti's" and then the scene you were in yesterday, the one from Lord of the Flies, yeah that one, flashed through my mind and I didn't say it, saving Kim from having to say to me, "Are you out of your mind?"

    The visual of one of Chris' buddies lugging his backpack for him brought a big smile to my face. And of course a sermon illustration. The cool thing is that I have no doubt that Chris will spend a lifetime lugging the burdens of so many fellow pilgrams.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 5/27/2005 06:41:00 AM  

  • Quile -

    You don't want to play him now, my friend. Too much indoor practice the last four months since the wreck. It isn't just "off the roof." It's "left-handed hook shot off the ceiling, off the backboard" or, of course, "nothing but net." (The Bird/Jordan commercial lives on!)

    By Blogger Mike, at 5/27/2005 06:45:00 AM  

  • Mike, thanks for your transparency!
    Thanks for sharing this whole journey with us. I hope it helped you to be able to express your pain, doubts, hurts, joys, etc....but I KNOW it was a blessing to all of us in your blog community! Lots of times when Luke is about to go some place, I think about Chris. Same with Matt. I say a little prayer these days that I had not been praying for a long time. That's because of you, and your willingness to share.


    By Blogger David U, at 5/27/2005 07:01:00 AM  

  • Mike -

    How are all the other boys doing now? And the family who lost their son and the lady driving the Yukon? I think of all of you so often as I've been praying for you all, wondering what each day brings . . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/27/2005 07:36:00 AM  

  • Mike-
    Wow--me too. I'm so thankful it wasn't worse and still hurting for the others.

    About the basketball goal--one of my favorite memories of the last 3 months will be eating at your house while Jason McArthur became a human backboard for the goal. Truly hilarious.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 5/27/2005 07:38:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    As a relatively new father (4 3/4 yr. old girl), the hardest thing for me to handle on a daily basis is the realization of her vulnerbility to life and my lack of control to completely protect her. Sometimes these thoughts begin to overwhelm me. The only tool that has helped so far is to just start praying during those mental moments. Your comments today and Chris's trial just remind more than ever I have to pray and turn it over to God. I also confess this dependency is not comfortable.

    I know it was hard to write, thanks for doing so.

    God watch over our children,


    Tony's Blog

    By Blogger Tony Arnold, at 5/27/2005 07:42:00 AM  

  • Dee - Thanks for asking.

    The parents of Brody, Chris's friend (who was sitting in the back seat with him and was killed), are two of my heroes. They have determined to both (1) enter fully into grief instead of pretend, and (2) try to go on with life. These are amazing people. You never know who your heroes are going to turn out to be. Diane and I feel bonded to them in ways we never could have anticipated -- because of Megan's death and because of the wreck.

    Chris, as I mentioned, is still wearing his back brace. We don't know much more about what's happening with his L4 vertebrae. More X-rays next week.

    Jon Westin has been spotted at church without his wheelchair (on crutches). We're very thankful for that. He had to return to Cook's for, I guess, a couple months battling infection in his leg. It was so serious, and he appears to be improving.

    Amara is an amazing young woman (the two girls were 8th graders, the boys were 6th graders), whose joy and faith have been contagious to others. She's still doing some rehab and there are some remaining questions about the leg that was broken.

    (On all of these, I'm trying to give the kind of report that's public, while protecting the privacy of the kids and families.)

    The other three kids bounced back fairly quickly after the wreck. That doesn't mean there aren't emotional issues, of course!

    JF, the driver, seems to be progressing as well.

    Thanks so much for asking.

    By Blogger Mike, at 5/27/2005 09:03:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    I am so thankful that God did not take Chris and that he spared Diane, Matt, yourself, and the entire Highland family further grief. Isn't it a joy to know that Brody's memory lives on with such fervor, humility, and love? I think of all of them often and I'm thankful that God is eternally faithful! Be blessed today.

    By Blogger Lauren, at 5/27/2005 09:11:00 AM  

  • Mike -- I rejoice with you in Chris's healing. God is so good. We are so glad of his progress!

    As I've mentioned before on this blog -- our family spends most nights on the baseball field at Cedar Creek. Brody was the pitcher on our All Stars team last year. He was amazingly talented. This year, we go to the field and he's not there -- he is missed! But out in Center Field at the fence there is a big banner up in his honor! Houston (my nephew) has been pitching this season for our team the Bulldogs. He really looked up to Brody last year. Every time this year Houston went up to pitch -- he would write Brody's name and number in the sand on the mound and then he would take off his baseball cap where he had written Brody's name on the inside brim and kiss it before he started pitching. He came up with this ritual all on his own at the age of 10 -- no one prompted it. One day last week a parent leaned over to me and asked me what Houston was doing and I shared his ritual with her. She smiled as tears rolled down her cheeks because children can teach us a lot about life and at his young age, he's found a special way to honor his friend. He made us all proud by doing so.

    A couple of weeks ago Houston had had a really tough game and we lost and he was crying after the game. He took it really hard because Houston takes baseball very seriously! Who was there to give him a huge hug after the game and sit with him and tell him it was ok? Brody's mom -- Jennifer (their youngest son had just finished playing on the field behind us). She sat up in the bleachers with him -- just the two of them -- and consoled a sad boy who simply was upset over a baseball game. And later on that night when I was talking to Houston, he said, "You know -- Jennifer just made my day." He wasn't crying about baseball anymore. The Bourlands are first-class people --reaching out to others even in their own horrific time of grief. We continue to offer them up in prayer.

    By Blogger Michelle, at 5/27/2005 10:03:00 AM  

  • Thanks so much for sharing-it has been amazing to share in this journey with you and the Highland family over the past few months.

    I think about and pray for all of these families (including yours) quite often and usually with tears in my eyes. I am so thankful that God is working through all of this-as I saw when I was in Lubbock when the Green Lawn accident happened and now being in Abilene and at Highland-it has just amazed me what a community of faith can do and also what God can do through tragedy and heartache. Praise Him for His faithfulness and I pray continued blessings upon Chris, Jon Westin, Austin, Amara, Beth, Chris P, Julie and the Bourland's.

    Thanks for sharing this journey with us...

    By Blogger Katherine, at 5/27/2005 10:40:00 AM  

  • Thank you Mike. I wonder what God has taught you about Himself through Megan and now Chris. Have you whipped out the sermon series on "Job" yet, or is that in the works? Blessings to you and your family.


    By Blogger Mr. Incredible, at 5/27/2005 01:46:00 PM  

  • I'm new to the blogspot arena, and so I thought I'd do a search for "Church of Christ" in the blogger search. All I got was a list of posts on Mike Cope's blog. I'm glad to find this site, but are there not any other Church of Christ blog sites out there?

    By Blogger Bob Williams, at 5/27/2005 02:19:00 PM  

  • Bob - there are several such blogs around. Click on each of Mike's links on the right hand side. I would especially recommend BST's and Wade Hodges.

    Glad to hear everyone is doing great Mike. This group in general is in my daily prayers - always nice to make it more individualized. In addition to the kids continued progress - I guess one of my bigger concerns is the emotional progress (as well as physical)of the driver. I pray God's healing power for her and her family.

    By Blogger KentF, at 5/27/2005 03:07:00 PM  

  • It still makes me laugh to think about our "inside basketball match" with Chris when we visited with you last! I can still see Chris and Jason battling it out! FUN!

    We are all so thankful that he is doing well! Tell him "Hi"!


    By Blogger Amy W, at 5/28/2005 09:26:00 AM  

  • First of all, Bob Williams, here is another "church of Christ" blog. Garry is the preacher at Crossbridge Church of Christ in Birmingham, AL. His blog is http://www.garrybrantley.blogspot.com/.

    Secondly, Mike, I continue to pray for Chris and your family. I keep up with the news through your blog and through JoAnn.

    Lynn Trigg

    By Blogger Lynn, at 5/28/2005 08:30:00 PM  

  • Mike, I too, want to thank you for sharing with us your life. Reminds me of "sharing not only the gospel, but our lives as well."
    Bob, I am also a minister of the "church of Christ" (although there are people in Utah who would argue that with you!) - my blog is randyclays.blogspot.com. There are more of us! (Cope is the Lexus; we are the Chevys). Thanks again Mike.

    By Blogger Randy, at 5/29/2005 05:19:00 AM  

  • I don't know if you'll read this or not because it's a day behind, but I too just wanted to add my thanks to the many who have already expressed it that we did not lose Chris. Over the last few months, I have come to rediscover how absolutely precious he is to me and how much I cherish all of the amazing memories we made together during the times you and Diane trusted me with him for so many years. I got a big grin on my face when I read about your indoor basketball matches because many of my baby-sitting memories of Chris involve that basketball goal. I am so thankful that God allowed you to keep your precious boy, and I am also thankful that you have been so transparent with us. It has been incredible to read about you as a father through this journey. I have learned so much about how I want to be as a mother to my own children some day. It is also neat to witness the way you and Diane are reaching out to the Bourlands. I know you are making a huge difference in helping them through their grief process, and I am thankful that the rest of us get to hear about how you bless each other. It is amazing to watch the body of Christ lift each other's arms up.

    I love you and your family sooooooooooooo much!!!!

    By Blogger Heather A, at 5/29/2005 08:55:00 PM  

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