Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chip Woods

Last week, my buddy Chip lost his battle with cancer. He fought for five years - never asking why and never giving up - at least, not outwardly. I'm sure he had some questions in there for God. I know I would.

Since the funeral, I've been thinking about him a lot. Chip was 47. He was entirely too young and that cancer was incredibly ruthless. At his funeral, the eulogy included a quote by Mark Twain, "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." No wonder Chip was such a happy guy. He was constantly doing things for other people.

He was the guy who taught me how to ski moguls. We went to Winter Park every February for our church ski trip. I mentioned how I wanted to get better at moguls and he offered to take me out that afternoon and teach me. He picked a narrow black diamond trail in the trees. I had nowhere to go (my problem was turning too wide and losing my rhythm) and nobody was going to cut me off. Chip spent 4 hours cheering me on and coaching my every turn. He gave up an entire afternoon of skiing so he could stand on a cold mountain and scream encouraging things up the hill. I think about that now - how selfless that was. There was absolutely nothing in it for him, yet he didn't even hesitate. He didn't complain. He didn't rush me. He waited until I had it and then made sure I looked back up the mountain at what I'd just done.

To celebrate his life, I have chosen to do more for others, the way Chip taught me. And I will always put in an attempt at those moguls, though I lack the courage I seemed to possess in my 20s. I miss my buddy, Chip. And I'm sure I'll miss him every year we go back to Winter Park. That's two friends I've lost to cancer. Two friends who get a little nod every time we ride up those lifts.

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