Mike Cope's blog

Friday, July 15, 2005

In three hours it will be July 16 -- six months from a day we'll never forget. Diane was at the church building working on a project with the 6th grade girls she teaches on Wednesday night. I went to pick Chris up. I watched vehicle after vehicle pull into the parking lot with weary teenagers, exhausted from a long, sleep-deprived weekend, pile out. But the vehicle carrying my son never came. "Must have been at the end of the caravan," I thought. Then I caught eye contact with our wonderful new youth minister. I think she tried to hide the terror, but she couldn't. These were kids she loved, too. And she -- and only she at this moment -- knew what had happened. It fell to her to start breaking the news that a certain group of families needed to go to Hendrick's emergency room. I went up to tell Diane. One of the hardest moments of my life. We had buried a daughter; fear filled us at the thought of having to face the loss of another child. At the hospital, our little group of parents huddled in a waiting room, as we waited for the ambulances to arrive. Word came to two families that their children were being airlifted to Ft. Worth. Off they went. Then the others began to arrive. My dear friend Jim Morrison, an ER physician, went into work when he heard about the accident even though he wasn't on call. When Chris came in, Jim came to us trying to put on a brave face. He kept telling us that he looked pretty beat up but that they needed to do some tests. When we saw him -- and I can hardly write this now -- we couldn't really recognize him. He'd be bludgeoned. That's when we leaned into his ears and whispered love, prayer, and a childhood-favorite poem. Very soon Jim delivered the good news that the CT-scan looked pretty good. There was a problem with a vertebrae, but the head looked good on the inside. Shortly after that (or maybe it was during that time -- it's all pretty compressed), news came to the Bourlands that Brody had died. I have come to know Bret and Jennifer Bourland as two amazing people of faith -- but even that doesn't prepare you for such a loss. Well, the story goes on, and I've written about it more than enough in the past. But I'll never forget that before I took off for Ft. Worth by car (since only one parent was allowed on the plane), I posted a note on this blog. January 16. And within hours, we had heard from people all over the world -- people praying for all those who'd been injured and for the Bourlands. I have no words to describe what that means. Watch for an article in the Abilene Reporter-News (www.reporternews.com) with an update on Highland and these families six months after the wreck. I think it will be in tomorrow.

15 Comments:

  • God bless you and your family, Mike. Thank you for sharing so honestly and for helping so many people with hope and faith. You've been a blessing to my family for years and you've been a blessing to me in more ways than you know. Thanks, Kyle Martin

    By Blogger Kyle, at 7/15/2005 07:57:00 PM  

  • Mike, I know that you are far away but our thoughts are right with your thoughts at this moment in time. We all remember where we were when we heard the news of the accident and all the emotions that came with it. It doesn't seem like months since the accident....it feels like years. It has shaped us in ways that we notice now and in ways that we won't be aware of for years. We are standing firm in our knowledge of God and not really understanding all the rest. This has made me realize how little I really do know and how unpredictable life can be and that we just need to keep standing firm in God. I don't know much more than that. I have seen unbelievable courage from our church family and so much nurturing and faith. This has been a tough few months and we sometimes feel we are on the other side of the emotions involved with that accident but right now as I am typing I am weeping. Still hard to sing Blessed Be Your Name. Still hard to see the Bourlands and know the pain they have been through and will continue to go through. So good to see the kids who survived. So good to see healing in those kids...physically and emotionally.
    grace and peace to you Mike Cope, Julie

    By Blogger julie, at 7/15/2005 08:05:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    I am so very thankful that God parceled out his mercy upon Diane, Matt, and yourself when he spared Chris's life that fateful day back in January! I believe Highland has become a Body that has come to know brokenness, loss, and sheer dependence on the Lord in a whole new way. I praise God for the journey he has led us on as we have trusted in his plan. Bret and Jennifer continue to keep me in awe as they wholeheartedly lean on the hope and promise that Christ is in the midst of their grief.

    Love and blessings to you.
    Lauren Cunningham

    By Blogger Lauren, at 7/15/2005 08:27:00 PM  

  • I will never forget that day either brother. They (the passengers of Chris' car) had asked Laura to switch vehicles and ride with them. She didn't. It affected her deeply. I remember almost every minute of that first hour. I remember almost every minute of Brody's funeral. Rob C's reading of Proverbs 3:5 still echoes in my spirit.

    Some people might be ignorant enough to say, "Let it go."

    Never.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 7/15/2005 10:03:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    I am so glad that I found your blog. I have deeply missed my Highland family since I have married and moved to Fort Worth. Though I have found another wonderful church to attend, my heart still longs for Highland!
    I will never forget the accident either. I was teaching in Mansfield, when I decided to check my email (my kids where taking a math test.) My mom (Nancy Kirk) had emailed me and told me about the accident. I immediatly emailed my campus and asked for prayers for the "highland group." It was the only way that I could help being so far away! You and the Highland family have been a blessing to me and my family in so many ways. I love and miss all of ya'll!
    Love from Fort Worth-
    Allyson Mavroulis Ocheskey

    By Blogger allyo, at 7/16/2005 07:51:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    I don't know you personally, only thorugh hearing you speak and on this blog.

    I want you to know that you and your family have ministered to me and blessed me, your tremendous faith, caring and love ooze from your writings.

    I remember the day of the accident, and one of my sweet Bunco sisters in Lubbock put out the word and we all began to pray.

    Thank you for opening your heart.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 7/16/2005 08:46:00 AM  

  • I have been looking at the calendar as the 16th approached...remembering...praying and thinking about all involved...aching for the Bourlands...and asking blessings on your family and the others...We miss you!

    Gayla

    By Blogger gayla, at 7/16/2005 09:30:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Although we have never met, you and your family, including the church at Highland, have been in my prayers since the accident. I remember the night of Jan. 16th well. Some of us parents of Sing Song hosts & hostesses met them for dinner in Fort Worth. I learned about the accident through the prayer that was offered before our meal that evening. This was at about 6:30 or 7:00 pm and we were asking for God's intervention, healing, and blessings upon all who were involved. Then, the Sunday morning following Sing Song, I worshipped at Highland and was so moved by the service that honored the community of believers and those who assisted during the accident. Thank you for sharing your amazing faith and for your transparency throughout the past six months. You are a blessing!

    By Blogger debbie, at 7/16/2005 11:30:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    Isn't it amazing "what God has brought you, your family and friends through." Your faith (and all those involved) is a powerful testimony of faith, community, and love.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 7/16/2005 12:08:00 PM  

  • When our children hurt, we hurt. When God's children hurt, He hurts. When God's children die, he welcomes them in to his bosom of everlasting peace and we must be content to look forward to joining them there.

    By Blogger Brian, at 7/16/2005 12:22:00 PM  

  • We were thinking about you Monday when we took our Kadesh group to The House That Kerry Built. I found Megan's picture on the wall. The theme for the week at Kadesh was "Hope," and the kids we played with that day defined hope for us better than any of the speakers or group discussions we had. A 6-year-old named Gabe latched onto me right away and every time another kid wanted me to play, Gabe would whisper desperately in my ear: "Say no! Please say no!" If we still lived in Abilene, I'd be down there every day.

    Everyone involved in the accident remains in our prayers.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 7/16/2005 05:38:00 PM  

  • I have been thinking about you guys from here in Salvador, Brazil where I'm visiting Randy and Jennifer. My heart still aches for all of you, but I am so thankful for God's amazing faithfulness in everything. I have so much more in my heart, but I just can't find the words to type. Everyone is in my prayers daily. I love you all sooooooooooooooooooooo much!!

    By Blogger Heather A, at 7/17/2005 05:02:00 PM  

  • I'm here in Abilene visiting my mom (my sister, Laura - and Gary - Holland are out of town right now) and so got to read every family's story in the paper this morning. What a testimony y'all have provided.

    We in our family have experienced the loss of more than one child (my little brother at 8 from brain cancer and Laura & Gary's baby son, Johh, at 7 months, so know, as you do, that one never "recovers" from the loss.

    Our mom, today at 83, some 46 years later, still grieves and cries over her little son who died. I've been a diabetic for 35 years and this morning couldn't go to church with my mom at Hillcrest because I'd had a very hard night due to neuropathy (severe nerve ending pains) in my left foot that woke me up and kept me awake for about 3 hours and when I got up briefly and talked with her about 7:30 a.m. this morning, she broke down and wept for me and my physical pains that are so hard to live with.

    It broke my heart, as well, to see my mom grieving so over ME (when I see it just as my cross I have to bear), and my heart turns to God who experienced the same grief (I can only imagine) at how HIS son was treated here on earth.

    These things are hard to understand, but we press on knowing that our Father, God, understands and empathizes with us and keeps us wrapped in His arms until that day when we shall ALL be with Him, together where He shall wipe away every tear from our eyes.

    Blessed Jesus, please come quickly.

    By Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews, at 7/17/2005 07:27:00 PM  

  • The story in the Reporter-News was a beautiful testimony to each family's faith. It made me thankful that I know and worship the God that Highland knows and worships, and makes me prayerful that others in Abilene will long to know the Grace and Peace He offers. Blessings to each family for being a light of His love.

    By Blogger Sarah, at 7/17/2005 07:55:00 PM  

  • It wasn't until late last night that I finally got around to looking at the paper, finding the story and interviews of so many of the families involved in the accident.

    Though there were individual circumstances shared, the common theme of stronger faith and trust in God is inspiring. I really don't know how all these families have been able to dig down through all that pain to bring up and express their faith to us. Y'all are simply amazing.

    We lost my beloved and only nephew at the same age as most of these kids, due to rejection of an artificial heart valve. Out of that saddness and loss all I can offer each of these families, along with my prayers, is the acute pain eases. The void caused by loss is finally filled up with a sweet, albeit bittersweet memory. We never 'forget' - rather there finally comes a heart filled with thanksgiving for the gift of such a sweet soul God has loaned us.

    Our Bobby has been with the LORD for nearly 30 years now, but his sweet smile and droll sense of humor is remembered as vividly as though I'd seen him yesterday. He is never absent from my memory, nor are the tears of loss when he comes to the forefront of thought and rfememberance.

    Bless you all and my gratitude to a community that supports its newspaper, welcoming this kind of interview and front page story. What a tender hearted city is Abilene!!

    My prayers and hugs go to every single person affected by the accident, especially members of the dear Bourland family.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 7/18/2005 06:10:00 AM  

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