Mentoring Revisited: My Friends Brian and Kim

I shouldn’t write about my friends Brian and Kim because my other friends might read my blog and feel left out.

I shouldn’t write about them because I love a lot of people.

In many ways, the choice to still write about them displays one of Kim’s great gifts – she loves intensely and exclusively (the right kind of exclusive).  I learned from her.  If you are talking with Kim her eyes don’t wander (unless there is a loud crash or something).  She loves intensely.  In the 90’s she threw a week long party for Brian called “I Love Brian Week”.  I thought that this was awesome, so I went out and bought him a 4 pack of Fitz’s Root Beer.  I think (Kim?) that I was the only person not named Kim Fulte to participate in “I Love Brian Week”.

Even earlier in the 90’s (1997 to be exact), I had a crush on Kim for about 10 days.  It did not last longer because she did not give me the time of day.  This was the first time I remember really noticing her intense way of loving and listening.  I don’t remember who she was talking to at the Bible Study but she didn’t waver.  Maybe I was weird; except that she continues to love this way.  🙂

96-97 was Kim’s and my freshman year at Mizzou, and it was Brian Sophomore year.  My sophomore year I remember clearly relying on Brian as a good spiritual friend.  That sounds trite and like I’m stretching but I’m not.  I remember saying regularly that there were four men I needed to see every few weeks because we talked well, I enjoyed their company, they loved Jesus in a deliberate but winsome way – and Brian was one of them.  I could even tell you who the other 3 were, but this blog isn’t about them.

A few years later, Brian and I would leave our Humanities Sequence lectures early for Shakespeare’s Pizza.  This seems like a no-brainer, but if you were in the Honors College at MU (I wasn’t, I would just talk my way into the Humanities Sequence courses with an advisor every year) you know that this was…  literally…  frowned upon.  The lectures were in the Geology Building (near Shakespeare’s), after the lectures there was applause, they brought in faculty from many disciplines, etc.  And, the professors who were not lecturing (15-20) sat in the back.  Leaving after 10 minutes of whispering about Shakespeare’s did not please them as far as I could tell.

I regret two things about that time with Brian.  1.  That we didn’t occasionally switch it up and go to Booche’s.  2.  That we didn’t drink beer.

I could literally go on and on.  Ski trips together – some fun, some less fun.  Brian was in Tulsa Oklahoma during one of the 3 worst family experiences I have ever had (so was Kim I think).  We were driving through on the way to Angel Fire to ski, and then to the Denver Christmas Conference.  More on this later.

Brian and Kim helped plant Riverside Church – where I have worked for over 9 years.

When I wasn’t sure we could make it to a small pizza party at their house my oldest (5) said, “We really need to go Daddy.  I need to tell Mr. Brian and Miss Kim that I am going to miss Grayson, and Tyler and their little girl.”

Brian loves deliberately like Kim, but if there was ever a guy who took the pressure off without enabling – it is Brian.  He is very sneaky that way.  You smile and laugh, and later realize wisdom and incisiveness.  I called it rhetorical jujitsu once regarding a point he made to me without gossiping.  I still need to learn from him. Less intense than Kim, but Brian is the easiest guy to lose 2 hours with that I know.  And, I know a lot of guys who are easy to lose 2 hours with.  They are the ones who are sad reading this because I didn’t blog about them.  Or, I did but it has been awhile.

Here is the problem: How do I summarize people I have respected, loved, been friends with, shared with, fought with, fought for, served under, called out, been called out by (I remember twice in 1999 even!), eaten with, invested (and lost) with…  for 16 years.  There is no summary. Blogs are for this, but still…

This is a pic of them sitting with my wife, at a wedding I performed.  That would have been fun to try to explain to any of the four of us in the 90’s.  Brian and Kim were were the single most encouraging people regarding how I handled the wedding.  (Again…  many were encouraging, but I remember what both of them said)

There was the time when I brought a _____ to their wedding.

There was the time that Brian invited me to the rehearsal dinner just because that is how Brian is.  One day before the dinner.  His old friend Adam and I sculpted a great toast too – it even alluded to a better toast.  That was how good it was.

Kim was the one who helped Rachel and I, gently, see some really crucial parenting stuff with Julia.  You can tell I am still growing.  Don’t know how to blog about this one!  She isn’t the only one who helped – but her deliberate, pursuing love (and clarity) punctured our hesitation and lack of knowledge.

Brian figured out that he still owes me like 800 beers from that investment years ago, but he doesn’t really.  Part of that estimate is based upon the fact that he has already bought me more than 100.  Seriously.  Not an exaggeration, and I can rarely drink more than 1-2 beers at a time.  And, he didn’t bring over 40 ever to skew this statistic.  Get it?  They are generous lovers of their friends…  and I have been friends with them for 16 years.  Wow.  Do you have friends who have bought you over 100 beers?  If you drink 10 beers at a time, then they need to have bought you like 700 or so to be as awesome as Brian.  This is in my backyard.  Ty buys me a lot of beer too – and he and I never lost money together.  Hmmm…..  Maybe he deserves a blog too.

Did I tell you about the time Brian helped me jackhammer my basement?

Did I tell you about the time I helped him install a ceiling in his U-CITY house?

No?  That’s because we came to expect that friends just help and serve each other when they can. I know that lesson better because I know Brian and Kim and Tyler and Grayson and Annabelle.

Did you know Brian can preach?  He preached a few (2 Brian?) gems at Riverside.  He and I co-taught a class a few months ago at the church.  He used to drive an hour to teach a Humanities Class to his sister when they lived around here and she was finishing high school. I have never and will never Adventure Race with him.  Done.

Did you know that Brian was one of those shirtless guys at Mizzou football games?  Did you know that before Brian no one did that at Mizzou games? Not Kidding.

I’m just telling stories about them because I love them and miss them.

Back when I mentioned the hard family time in Tulsa; Brian and Kim didn’t do anything, but they stayed around as friends, weren’t scared, didn’t let my current story ‘give me a pass’ in how I was living.  They weren’t my very best friends then and they aren’t now.  But, they were in the Top Ten then and they are in the Top Ten now.  They are the only ones I can say that about (I still love everybody…  I’m just making a point about longevity here!).

I could write stories until 3 AM.  If this were Kim’s Blog, or one of her encouraging emails, she might do just that 🙂  But, I’m going to stop.  Did I tell you about the time I invited Kim to a Semi-Formal because I knew she was dating Brian (this was 1998) so she was the best possible date I could imagine?  Fun, but I knew she wouldn’t think anything about it because we both knew she was with Brian.  She showed me the picture from it a few years ago.  I hope it is still around.  We looked very young.  Because we were.

I’m glad Christians never really say goodbye.  Even so, I wish I were better about it.

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3 responses to “Mentoring Revisited: My Friends Brian and Kim

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