Of bachelor parties and brothers

Try to imagine 100ish guys filling the screened-in-porch behind the People of Praise center, overflowing in fact out onto the grass, with Ricky Thomas sitting in a chair in the middle. The party had miraculously quieted down so that a few guys could publicly honor Ricky. Now imagine me stepping forward and pulling out a folded up printout and reading it's contents to Ricky right next to me, in an awkward sort of way, while attempting to speak loudly enough for all to hear.
Ricky, I'd like to honor you for living in the moment. When I met you two and a half years ago in Allendale, we quickly struck up a friendship. We went for a few evening runs together and it was easy to share openly with you. Then when you moved back to South Bend the following summer, you continued showing us how to live in the moment. You fostered friendships with the Kottkamp boys and excitedly shared about them whenever you had a chance. "Excited sharing" is a familiar thing to those who spend increasing amounts of time with Ricky. I see the joy of the Lord in his excitement.

I'd also like to honor you for caring for our sisters. You've taught me a lot by your example. They were served in a new way when we put together a formal dinner for Valentine's Day at your suggestion. They've been protected numerous times by your responses during and after large co-ed games of soccer. You've shown me how to take the initiative in group settings while still seeking the preferences of our sisters. I can't thank you enough for showing me this particular way of being Christ in the world today.

Lastly, I'd like to encourage you in your competitive spirit. I don't always have a good experience in competition, but I've been very honored and built up whenever I have the opportunity to compete with you. I recently noticed this on the soccer field that whenever we're going head-to-head, I put more into it than I do with anybody else, and was wondering why. The Holy Spirit is very active in you, and I see that in the way that you are a intensely passionate athlete, yet still charitable and considerate while playing. It's a great model for all life in Christ.

Praise God for what he's doing with you Ricky! I look forward to seeing his hand at work in the new family you are beginning with Allesha. God bless you and I love you man.