Dear Travis –
Well. You made it. While we are not at all surprised, some of us wonder if you are a tad bit? After all, you asked several of us over the past year, “what’s the “over/under” on making it to 39?”
Just how many bets do you have to pay up on?
A year ago tonight you were sitting with family and friends as we celebrated your birthday. There was nervous laughter, awkward moments of silence, and prayer. We didn’t know yet. We knew there was something but we were hoping, against all odds, it was just a random infection. A benign tumor. A fatty cyst. Anything but…..cancer.
In less than 12 hours you would find out it was….
Since that day, that fateful day, we have watched you in admiration. We have watched you grow, help others, love, learn, forgive, chase after Jesus…
We have watched you…change.
You have not walked this road perfectly but there is no expectation for perfection. Only growth. And we have seen plenty of that.
We have seen you grow in ways that have caused us to whisper behind your back, “did he just say that?” “did he just do that?” “was that Travis?!?”
You have shocked us. Inspired us. Taught us. And, of course, made us laugh…even in the most inappropriate of moments as only you can do.
Watching you over the past year has been a humbling experience. It has inspired many of us to live. You have shown us how to love. And for many of us…because of you…we have found our way back to church. Back to God.
A friend, one of us, once said you were a “modern day Paul”. As you sit at Buckhead Church on Sunday morning, taking up two rows with your “army”, that comment comes to life. Leading others to Christ even as you wrestle with Him yourself.
And so, after a year of giving us so much, more than we could have ever asked, we have one more request.
A silly request, we know, because it’s asking you to do what you do. What you have always done. But still, we are asking you for it anyway because we want you to know how important it is…to us.
You have plenty of reasons to fight…
Your beautiful wife. Your high school sweetheart. The girl who would be lost without you.
Your oldest boy. Your clone. The mini Trav. The boy who looks up to you like none other. The one who adores you.
Your precious girl. Your angel. The one who wants your “chemo” to go away. The one who wants her daddy to walk her down the aisle some day.
Your baby. The one who sings “The Daddy Song”. “The Daddy Song” that expresses how much he loves you already…at only 3 years old.
Amazing reasons to fight.
But we have one more. Clearly not as an important as these others but worth mentioning nonetheless.
Fight for us.
We are not done learning. Our faith is not done being stretched by watching you walk this journey. And the only way for faith to grow…is to be stretched.
There are so many more of us to reach. That only you, in your special way, can reach.
So when you are tired. When you are understandably done with feeling sick…being poked, prodded, and cut open…and you are going through your list of reasons for fighting. Think of us.
Because the world we live in needs a modern day Paul. The world needs you.
So with that…there is only one question left…
What’s the over/under on making it to 40?
We’ll take that bet.