Ty: “Have you talked to Chris lately?”
My Dad would always ask this question, knowing darn well what the answer was before he even asked it. Chris and I hadn’t talked in a long while.
And that, in and of itself, was extremely unusual. There was a period of time when Chris and I would have called each other three or four times throughout the day to share a joke, tell a story, or just chat. Chris Beatty and I had been the best of friends for many years. The type of friends who were completely inseparable. We spent nearly every night we could hanging out, going to country concerts, and commiserating over our inability to talk to women. Now, it had been months since I had even heard from Chris. We let a disagreement get the best of us, and now it was showing our worst.
“You know, you really should call him. Life’s too short,” my Dad would always say. I had no idea at that time just how short life could truly be.
But I was stubborn and I was afraid to admit that I had made a terrible mistake and sinned against my fellow man—and not just any fellow man. My best friend. I was too arrogant to pick up the phone and call him. I let anger consume me for no reason other than haughty self-righteousness, and it was tearing my heart to pieces. I was too ego-conscious to drive over to his house and say I was sorry. I was too focused on myself to focus on God and what He wanted me to do to repair this friendship. And I let self blind me to everything that was important in life.
Even in the immediate aftermath of my Dad’s death, I had people telling me that my God could take horrible situations and make something good out of them. That even in the midst of tremendous, lifelong heartache, God can create brightness. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, God would be able to take this pain and bring His people closer together.
“Well, God,” I thought, “you’ve got your work cut out for you on this one.”
Chris: I was driving home the night I got the call. In her most comforting, yet emptied and wounded tone, my mom asked me if I could pull off to the side of the road because she had something ‘very important’ to tell me. This was a tone in which I have never heard from my mom’s voice, so I ‘pulled off’ the highway and prepared myself for the coming words that would change my life, forever.
“Chris, baby I don’t how to tell you this. Scott passed away. I don’t know all of the details, but he committed suicide.”
My body went numb. Honest to God, I literally pinched myself twice to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. It was at that point, that I really did pull off I-71N to clear my blurred vision from the tears that had cascaded my eyes. After gaining my composure, and taking a few deep breaths, I did something that I couldn’t bring myself to do for last 2 years. I swallowed my pride, dialed those 7 numbers that I still had memorized, and waited in anticipation for a familiar voice on the other side…
For those of you that don’t know, Ty and I met each other in Mrs. Hopkin’s 2nd grade class at Fairfield North Elementary. Since 9th grade, we have been best friends, and often mistaken for lovers by many. I guess going out with your buddy for ice-cream on a Friday night might’ve been the wrong play when trying to pick up girls. Ty and I share countless memories, many of which his dad played a part in.
Of all the memories, my personal favorite was when Ty and I started a business one summer, called Beatty & Bradshaw Landscaping. Scotty let me use his truck to pull out all the stumps and bushes from the ground. He also let us use his chainsaw, flame thrower, pressure washer, and Cub Cadet riding mower! I forgot to mention, all his tools were brand name and looked legit, which in turn, made us feel like real men.
*Side note: During our 2 years as business owners, Beatty & Bradshaw Landscaping had 1 client and 2 total invoices. We later liquidized all assets of the company and took up poker instead. That, too, was a failed venture.
Admittingly, I am a prideful person. Prideful to the point in which I squandered a lifelong friendship with Ty over something trivial. During our 2-year sabbatical from each other, a lot happened in our lives. We got real jobs; we each bought houses; I got married. In planning my wedding, there were some important questions…location, church, venue, colors, wedding party, honeymoon, etc. Up until that point, I had one obvious choice as my best man. Despite desperate attempts from my future wife and family to bring us back together, my pride restricted my ability to pick up the phone and make things right with Ty. As the wedding planning proceeded, Ty was not my best man. He nor his family were invited to celebrate the best day of my life. That decision was a life lesson that I learned the hard way.
Two years later…
Anxiously dialing Ty’s number, a number I had dialed so many times before, a calmness and a sense of compassion that only God can give someone filled my entire body. I heard Ty’s voice, but it was just his voicemail. I have no recollection of what I said, but in my most sympathetic tone, I asked him to call me.
It was the next day, I was about to walk into my office, and I saw those 7 familiar numbers pop up on my phone that I had answered so many times before. I can’t recall what Ty even said to me, but it didn’t matter. Differences aside, I knew this was the moment that Ty needed his brother. I cancelled all my meetings and raced to his house, which I realized was the same yard where we completed our 2 landscaping jobs at Beatty & Bradshaw Landscaping. Talk about poetic justice.
I remember apprehensively walking up to his door and thinking about what I wanted to say and how I was going to say it. How do you approach someone who you’ve known since you were 7, yet completely shut out of your life for the past 2 years, who just tragically lost his father?
God has a great way of working things out for you when you put your trust in Him. I walked inside and Ty greeted me with the most exposed, regretful, and heartbroken hug I’ve ever received. I spent so much time rehearsing what I would say and how I would apologize. Instead, we hugged each other and sobbed in each other’s arms for what seemed like an hour. It was at that point that every chain and shackle had been lifted off both of our stubborn hearts.
My greatest life lessons have always been learned the hard way, and this was no exception. It took a tragedy to bring my brother and I back together. Since that day, Ty and I have picked up where we left off; going to Red’s games, eating at Buffalo Joe’s and ordering extra blue cheese, singing every word to “We Rode in Trucks,” in Scotty’s GMC Silverado, and yes, still going out for Graeter’s black raspberry chip ice cream. In fact, we recently checked off a life-long bucket list item the other night when we went to go see Garth Brooks in concert. It was such an honor to share that experience together because we both had that same dream since we were 7 years old.
Pride blurred my vision, causing me to view myself in a distorted reality. Pride shields sin as strength and steadfast. I am so thankful that my God forgives me for my transgressions. If someone tells you that a burnt bridge will never be built again, or forgiveness isn’t possible, I can tell you differently, in ways not a lot of people can. While Ty and I will never get those 2 years back, I’m excited to open new chapters where I can be a part of the memorable moments in his life.
I know Scotty is smiling up there seeing his two boys back in action again.
Thanks, Scotty. I love you, man. I’ll thank you again in person one day, but until then, Seeya Bub.
Ty: Dad, Your death created a lot of heartache in my life that still continues today. But I’m also amazed how God was able to take this horrible situation and shine a light in other areas. I know that you are happy looking down and seeing Chris and I have mended our friendship. If it was possible, I think we’ve become even better friends than we ever were, because we know what truly matters—and Dad, you taught us that. You taught us that forgiveness isn’t an option, and that love for your fellow man is what matters at the end of this life. Chris and I are both able to cherish the example you set for what it means to be a friend to someone, and we are thankful that you are still watching over us, at times laughing with us and other times at our stupidity. I have no doubt that God has his hand over our friendship, and I have no doubt that you are there right next to Him, watching along and smiling at your boys. We miss you terribly, Dad, but we will see you again soon when we can all laugh together forever and ever. Until then, seeya Bub.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)
Chris Beatty is the Sr. Vice President of Business Development at Hyur Staffing Services, LLC., specializing in customized recruitment and staffing support. Chris graduated from Miami University (Oxford, OH) obtaining his B.S. in Marketing from the Farmer School of Business. He is also a member of Inner Circle Cincinnati, Inc., a 501©3 non-profit organization and men’s ministry devoted to turning lukewarm Christian men into spiritually mature disciples and leaders.