We have a tendency to take relationships for granted. Sometimes, God places someone in our life that unbeknownst to us, will leave an indelible mark on our lives. Such is the case with my good friend, Brycen Adams.
Brycen is a rare breed for sure. Born in late 1999, he loves 80’s music and all the power ballads. When I first met Brycen, he was an inconspicuous 5th grader. He wasn’t the type of person who’s presence had to be known. But, he did attach to our kids area pretty quickly. He wanted to know how everything worked. At the time, we were meeting in a cafeteria at a school and he would stick around to help teardown as long as he could after service. That following summer our church moved to it’s permanent place. We started a kids camp that summer, but Brycen wasn’t able to go. His best friend, Ethan, went and helped me put on our first kids camp.
Ethan served as an actor in our production in the elementary room. As soon as I would let him, Brycen wanted to serve too. He may have tried out as an actor and then I put him on the role that only made sense, AV team. It’s not that he was terrible, he just couldn’t act…at all. He did, however, pick up the understanding of how to run the computer and the switch light board pretty quickly. I may have thrown in some fluff about how he gets to create the environment to entice him to stick with this role. I quickly learned that when Brycen commits to something, he is all in.
The previous six years are a blur. But, one of my constants has been Brycen. For summer break, Brycen would come up on Wednesday’s just to serve with me and learn about ministry and all that goes into making Sundays happen. He also give up his time to help me plan and execute five kids camps, three VBS’s, two FC Kids discipleship programs, and one lock-in (It only took one to realize, I’m not cut out for lock-ins). Brycen is not a usual type of person, giving up his free time just to come hangout at the church. We had so much fun, sometimes at his expense. If I had a dollar for every time I blamed Brycen for something going wrong, I’d be one of the wealthiest men in the world. It was always in good fun, but Brycen always took it as a serious allegation.
There are people in your life that you start helping them navigate the waters of family life and growing up, only to look back and see how they have made a greater impact on your life than you could have ever imagined. For me that person is Brycen. I feel like he is my little brother that I got to help raise. Sure we’ve had disagreements, but we can almost fix anything together.
Sometimes you have the privilege of getting so close to someone in ministry that they know what you are thinking before you even say anything. It took a while, because confidence had to be built, but Brycen has gotten to that point with me. It’s one of the reasons it is so hard to say goodbye.
The thought never crossed my mind that eventually this 5th grader would grow up, and become a close friend. Mostly, I thought he’d leave because I had no idea what I was doing and no one wants to follow someone aimlessly. Brycen is loyal.
What I’ve learned is that our lives will be forever changed if we will open ourselves up to the possibilities. I’ve learned we can impact a life while having our lives changed all the more. Teenagers aren’t miss understood and misguided people that have no hope. They are just like you and me wanting to be noticed and cared about to the point of validating what they are going through. You don’t have to have all the answers to their questions. You just have to have their back and be willing to help them see all the perspectives, including their parents’.
Over the past seven years, Brycen has become as close to me as a brother and that is why the tearing away of him going into the army is so difficult. I’m proud of him, because he is keeping his servant’s heart by serving our country. I just don’t want him to go because he is family and has been a constant in my life. I began to look forward to our hangouts over coffee or lunch or the light board in our AV room. Summers were something to look forward to because I knew we’d get to plan camp and talk about what’s going on in life.
Brycen, if you are reading this, know that I cherish deeply the time we have had. I’ve told you so many times I am proud of you and the man you have become. I didn’t realize how hard this was going to be for me, but know that I am with you wherever you go. Bro, I am a phone call away and I’m there in a heartbeat if you need me. You are already a hero, so you don’t need to prove to anyone that you are. Please, in the words of Chris Bergeron, “Keep your head down and don’t be a hero. Watch your six and be the very best at everything you are taught (you’ve been working on that for six years now. If I’ve (Sammy) taught you anything, I hope that’s one thing), it might very well save your love or someone else’s.”
Thank you for the memories, the laughs, and the brotherhood. I love you, man. Hooah!!!