Today would be David Michael Wilson’s 57th birthday. Mike was my best friend growing up in Danville, KY. As I have been thinking about my bud, who passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on March 1, 2006, I pulled up my funeral manuscript. I want to excerpt a brief part of the introduction to my message here today in Mike’s honor:
When my family moved to Danville in the Fall of 1969, we had finally settled in. Having been in six different schools through the third grade, my fourth grade year started out in a place I have grown to call home. One of the first kids I met after moving in on Seminole Trail, was Mike Wilson. We were destined to become best of friends. Four years ago, while in the midst of serious battles with various complications from his lymphoma, stem cell transplant and medications, Mike asked me if I would preach his funeral. I told him that I would be honored to do so, but that I wasn’t in any hurry. He assured me that he wasn’t either. We laughed together and cried together and the bond that we had shared for 30 years was that much tighter.
When I think about Mike Wilson, two words come to mind: fiercely loyal. Mike Wilson and I were truly like brothers much more so than just friends. I spent countless nights at his house growing up, as he did mine. See, Mike was one of the few guys I knew who wasn’t afraid of my Great Dane, Sedgewick. We played countless hours of softball, baseball, basketball, football all around the neighborhood with lots of other guys, but Mike and I were a team. At his house, we set up the studios for W-I-L-D radio. We were the DJ’s spinning the tunes on a small record player. Little did I know that I was getting my training for a career in broadcast journalism. See, I have been a radio DJ and newsman before going into ministry. Mike got me started!
The only fight I was ever in as a boy was with…you guessed it…Mike Wilson. It happened right after we got off the bus on Seminole Trail…we exchanged punches, his much more effective than mine, angry words and we didn’t speak to each other for a week. Then, it was forgotten and we were closer than ever. I don’t remember what it was about, all I know is that Mike fierce loyalty wouldn’t let it stand between us.
I miss Mike Wilson more than I could ever adequately express in words. My life is so much richer because I had the privilege of knowing him, and calling him my friend. To those who read this note, know that I love each of you, and am blessed to call you “friend” as well. Do not let a day go by without letting those you love know it. As James, the brother of Jesus wrote: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” (James 4:14)
One more segment from my funeral message for Mike Wilson:
Mike Wilson understood that he had no guarantee of tomorrow, and he lived out his last few years truly knowing that he had to make the most of each 24-hour segment! Mike’s life reminds us that fierce loyalty to our family and friends coupled with the love of Christ is the ONLY WAY to get through any 24-hour segment of our lives! We’re gonna make plenty of mistakes along the way, but God is in the forgiveness business. A dear minister friend of mine always says that we should live with no regrets. Well, I do regret never having gone to visit Mike in San Diego, but I don’t regret the fact that we kept in close touch over the years and across the miles. I don’t regret the hours we spent on the phone enjoying each other’s families and lives. I don’t regret the hours we spent reminiscing about growing up in Danville, KY. I don’t regret the prayer we shared together as he valiantly battled the physical diseases that wracked his body. I am so grateful to God for bringing Mike Wilson into my life!
I thank God for each of you, whom He has brought into my life. I pray that you will make the most out of today, coupling a love for Christ with a fierce loyalty for the people God has placed in your lives.