We Were Cowboys

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“O don’t worry, you won’t remember your high school friends in ten years”, said my boss to a co-worker who was worried that she would miss her high school friends too much in college. “Yeah I suppose you are right”, she responded. I felt a deep sense of sorrow when she said those words, not for myself but for her. I began to think about the friends that I had and the warm love of Christ rushed through my heart.

I had the privilege of being able to attend a small private school for thirteen years. Two of my fellow graduates had the same privilege and many others graced me with years of memories. More than memories, though, we grew up in Christ together. That special bond that we shared deepened the roots of our friendship more than anything could in this beautiful world. The power of Christ not only saves souls, it brings them together.

My friend Max, with whom I had been friends since the beginning, suggested that we start a Bible study during the summer after our seventh grade year. This is where I think the deep bond between the guys in my class began. Life became more than just soccer, crushes, and Halo; it was now about maturing, war, and Jesus. Now don’t get me wrong, we were still cowboys. We trespassed on the ski jump and went disk golfing and stayed up all night, filling our bodies with green acid known as Mountain Dew. But we were not just teens hanging out, we were brothers in fellowship. After a bout of Call of Duty we would go out back to the train tracks and walk to our make-shift “Roundtable” where we would discuss life and what God had been teaching us. After a weekend of soccer matches and Applebee’s we would wake up early Monday morning to pray and keep each other accountable. We were a band of cowboys. We horsed around but we were also held together with a deep and true commonality: Jesus.

I do not mean to say that we were perfect teen guys. We messed up every day. We gossiped. We threatened. We used Jesus to make ourselves look like saints. In fact, looking back I’m skeptical of my relationship with Him. But that’s life in Christ. We become less and less the hero of our stories while He draws us closer and closer. One of the ways he does this is through the fellowship of other non-heroes, other cowboys.

To be honest, part of me misses those days. I miss becoming a man with my best friends. I miss being soaking wet, standing guard on the soccer field with my fellow non-heroes. I miss worshipping with my band of cowboys at the Wilderness Retreat. But I don’t think Jesus wants us to be jealous of our former selves; I think He wants us to think back and feel the warm love of Himself rush through our hearts.

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