Monday, July 25, 2016

I Will Miss You, Bruce Bolds

Psalm 133:1
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony.

During worship practice Saturday, before VRC cranked up, I received a phone call. A phone call to let me know that Bruce Bolds had died. I'm never very good at hearing such news, but this particular one really shook me. I had talked with Bruce before we went on our family vacation, and he was upbeat as usual. We shared prayer needs with each other, as well as a few memories. . You see, Bruce and I have a history that goes back to my time at Rapha. Even now, picturing Bruce in my mind, all I see is smiles.....big toothy grin.....and that accent. As Southern as I talk, Bruce never really escaped his Northern sound. We were as different as night and used tires (don't ask me where that example came from), but there was just something about this guy that you just couldn't help but love him. He was boisterous, loud, but also had a gentle side.

Bruce was on a journey to shake off his addiction and find real life. He'd done enough time in the darkness that comes with addiction. It was a hard road for him, but he kept pluggin' away. I think maybe this is what the Bible means when (in the book of Revelation) it speaks of "Overcoming".  To me overcoming means to not give keep following and chasing Jesus in spite of the falls and tumbles that throw you into the ditch. You don't stay there, you pull yourself out, confess, receive God's forgiveness and get back on the road. This was Bruce.

Bruce and I stayed in touch over the years, especially after he landed in Alabaster. He would message me on Facebook, as well as call me early in the morning. Bruce knew that I was an early riser, so he would call to talk about things he was learning as he studied scripture. He was an inquisitive soul, and was like a sponge. Invariably, Bruce would call me every few months asking for a stack of the "DECLARATION" cards we used at Rapha.  

"Bro. Mike, can you send me a stack? I'm giving them out to others who seem to be struggling with their identity." That was Bruce. He seemed to be the unspoken pastor of the home he was living in. Always reaching out to others with the love of God. 

Going back to the conversation he and I had before our vacation, I told Bruce that I was going to make my way down to Alabaster for a visit, and that we would go out for lunch. Life seemed to have gotten in the way, and I kept thinking "I've got to get down there." When the phone call came about Bruce's death,  all I could think of was not having made  that visit a priority. This will stay with me.

Well, if I could say anything to Bruce it would be...."Man, you made it. You have beat the very thing that tried to kill you and steal your life. Now go rest. I'll see you soon."
Life is all about learning HOW to live.....
Life is also all about learning how to die.....

I am a richer man for having known Bruce Bolds.
He taught me more about the art of learning how to be content in Christ than anyone I know.

I never heard Bruce complain or whine about his lot in life.
He was always grateful and thankful.
This I will take for myself and move forward in my journey.
I will miss you, my brother.

God on you....


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