Archives For goodbye

One Heck of a Week

Erik Cooper —  January 10, 2011 — 1 Comment

Last week was difficult, I’m not gonna lie.

The perfect blend of emotional soup.  Moments of pure elation followed by waves of fear and sadness. Like your favorite football team just took the lead on a 50 yard field goal only to lose it 53 seconds later as time expired ending their season (wait, that really happened didn’t it?).

Here’s a little recap and a few thoughts (if you’re interested):


My 5 year old son, Austin, gets a miraculous medical report.  Born with optic nerve hypoplasia, doctor’s originally warned of potential blindness or even brain development issues.  Thursday’s doctor visit confirmed the continued positive progression we’ve been seeing in his recent visual development. Both eyes have slowly corrected to 30/20, what our ophthalmologist terms “normal” visual range for his age.  We celebrated the answer to years of prayer.

(He’s keeping the glasses though. They’re just too stylish).


My wife, driving our daughter to her evening basketball practice, loses control of the car on an unsalted stretch of icy road. The front end of our little Chevy Cobalt is torn off by a swerving pickup truck, her driver side door t-boned by a 15 passenger van. Thankfully, extreme bruising and a few terrifying dreams seem to be the only residual damage (Well, besides ol’ orange. She’s driven her last mile). A few inches either way and I could easily be typing this as a single father of two.


My brother and sister in-law move to Houston, and an early morning breakfast goodbye turned a bit more emotional than we had originally planned.  We celebrate their new adventure, but already feel the painful sting of their absence. My daughter’s tears did me in, although after the previous days accident I was just grateful she was there to shed them.

So as Saturday drew to a (Colts-losing) close, this triple cocktail of human emotions had us ready to curl up under a warm blanket and hide from the world. God seemed to be so evident on Thursday. What happened?

I think there’s an unfortunate tendency to miss God in the pain of life. To think His nature is only expressed through our happily ever afters. The easily explained. The comfortable. The positive doctor’s reports.

And I think that cheapens God. Turns Him into a servant of us.

God never promised life would be without pain. Easy to explain. That your favorite team would always be ahead when the final buzzer sounds.

But He did promise He’d always be with us.  That He would never leave us or forsake us. That He would be near to the brokenhearted.

So I’m learning to see Him everywhere.  In medical healings, ugly car crashes, and sad goodbyes.

Yep, there He is.

Top Posts of 2010

Erik Cooper —  December 27, 2010 — 1 Comment

According to Google, these were my most read posts of 2010 (and seriously, who argues with Google and lives?). Since this is the week of top 10’s and best of’s, I thought I’d join the end of year festivities. Hope you enjoy a little stroll down BeyondTheRisk memory lane.

10.  Memorabilia: What Do You Hold Onto?

Our lives are full of memorabilia. Some trigger beautiful memories.  Some conjure up nightmares. [Read more]

9. Should Churches Ever Go Out of Business?

A question I still question if I should have even asked. [Read more]

8.  Should the Church Really Be Promoting Social Justice?

Glenn Beck made some strong statements against churches who talk about social justice. I tried to engage the conversation [Read More]

7.  Saying Goodbye

After 32 years, my parents finally moved from my childhood home. These were my nostalgic thoughts as we closed those doors for one last time. [Read More]

6.  The Problem with the Church

With all the condescending finger pointing and pithy diagnosis, I thought it was time to talk about the real problem with the church. [Read More]

5.  You Can Keep Your Hymnal

How often am I guilty of trying to relive the past? What are the “hymnals” in your life? [Read More]

4.  Embracing Biblical Values and Completely Missing the Point

Is it possible to love Jesus without truly following Him?  [Read More]

3.  Goodbye Maddie

Directly or indirectly, relationships will hurt you (confession: cried again re-reading this one). [Read More]

2.  I Hate When People Tell Me About Their Missions Trips

A trip to Honduras once again messed with our normal. What you hear from these two guys sums it up perfectly. [Read More]

1.  Fifteen Years Ago

My wife and I crossed a major milestone this year. This is my tribute to her (to us). [Read More]

Saying Goodbye

Erik Cooper —  September 22, 2010 — 1 Comment

We just finished moving my parents from their home (our home) of 32 years. House empty. Papers signed. Deal done.

And even though I haven’t called that space home for over a decade and half now, I still feel like we’ve said goodbye to a friend. A refuge. Home base. A constant in a world that never seems to want to stop spinning and changing.

Why is it so hard to say goodbye, (you know you’re singing Boys 2 Men right now) even to an inanimate piece of architecture? For a few reasons I think:

Every smell, every creak, every space holds a richness of life-defining memories. The b-roll of life I can’t always conjure up unless I’m physically there.

Endless hours of rubber band wars with green plastic army men.

Scavenging for hidden Christmas presents while my parents were out to dinner (that Todd Tyson kid was always a bad influence).

Baking gingerbread cookies during the Holidays.

Practicing my fastball in the side yard next to the air conditioning unit (still sorry for all those low and insides dad).

Watching Michael Jackson do the moonwalk at the ’83 Grammy’s (which spawned my enviable fourth grade parachute pant collection).

The walk home with dad after learning of my mom’s first bout with cancer.

The memories travel with us, but they do pixilate over time. And access to the space they were created gives us a renewed development of the slowly deteriorating images. What if I can’t recall? What if I can’t remember? What if I lose the ability to retrieve defining moments that are so much a part of who I am? Of who we are? It can be scary.

But beyond the sentimentality, I think closing a chapter of our lives triggers something deeply spiritual in us as well. We were created for eternity (Ecc. 3:11), and saying a goodbye of any kind reminds us of our curse. That sin emerged and ruined God’s original design. That things just aren’t the way they were supposed to be. That this life is terminal.

That goodbye is inevitable.

Thank God He provided The Way to ensure goodbye can also just be a temporary concept.