Friday, May 9, 2008

What About Bob?

"A faithful friend is a strong defense: and he that hath found such a one hath found a treasure." - Ecclesiasticus 6:14

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

My close friend and ministry partner of fifteen years is moving away this month, headed to Texas to be near his kids and grandkids. We all understand Bob's decision, his sense of God's timing, and his family priorities. And, I have no doubt that Bob will find as many wonderful ways to bless and serve in his retirement as he found during his long, fruitful ministry.

And yet I grieve his going. I dread this good-bye as much as any I have said before. But I'm not going to pout or mope about it. Bob and I have agreed not to cry or whine or blubber about our parting ways. In fact, I am trying to the lighten the moment by compiling the following list:

Top Ten Things I Will Miss About Bob:

10. Listening to Bob practice his trombone scales and drills early in the morning.

9. All the times Bob talked Susan into coming back from vacation a day or two early so he could get back to work.

8. Bob and I wolfing down big steaks and blizzards while our wives just shook their heads.

7. Watching Bob squirm and twist and discreetly check his watch when some service or meeting ran way too long.

6. All the times Bob found someone else's food in the office and helped himself to a huge anonymous bite.

5. Watching Bob trying to communicate with people overseas, not quite convincing a Belarussian pastor that the food would make him "strong like bear."

4. That pained expression Bob can't help but get when he hears really bad music.

3. Memorable office pranks like when we turned Bob's office into a 1960's coffeehouse or when he came back from Alaska to find his office had been hit by a blizzard of white packing peanuts. Or, when Bob got even by replacing my prized rhino collection with McDonald's 101 plastic dalmatians.

2. That tacky Florida State Seminole ornament on the staff Christmas tree.

1. All of Bob's trombone spit on the platform carpet.

Truthfully, I will sorely miss my friend and partner. For fifteen years we have planned and prepared, dreamed and debated, laughed and learned, trying to bring out the best in each other week by week, year by year. We have prayed and played and stayed, and now, by God's design, we must move on. New opportunities, new partners, new chapters in our lives, and I truly am excited about the days and years ahead.

But for today, I am feeling somber, just a little melancholy. My friend is moving away.

5 comments:

Mark Goodyear said...

Good friends are hard to find. And being a Texan myself, I'm glad to know Bob will have another good home very soon.

Also, I played trombone in high school--but that was for marching band. Where is Bob playing trombone?

Drew Hill said...

Mark- Prior to getting together with me, Bob was the trombone soloist and brass section leader in the U.S. Navy Band in Washington for 27 years, while doing bivocational ministry. He has had many unique experiences. -Drew

John Francis, MBC Worship said...

Great guy, great trombone player.
Will miss Bob

roger hatfield said...

Drew, your partnership in the Gospel with Bob is a model for all staff teams. When I was with you guys for the April missions conference, I had some quality time with Bob and Susan to hear their journey also. They now go to leave another legacy--a spiritual one of investing in the lives of their grandchildren. They will cast a vision for those kids' lives. Just watch. Thanks for the great words....

Drew Hill said...

John- Thanks for your kind words. Now, can you find me another Bob! I'm pretty sure there is only one. -Drew

Roger- Thank you for your wise words. Truly Bob and Susan's full-time ministry just takes on a new, more personal form as they invest their lives in their kids and grandkids. I appreciate your friendship and partnership as well. -Drew