Dear Timmy, Timotius, the Timster, TIIIIM,
40? How can you be 40? I still think of you as a youthful youth worker doing wild and wacky things like skateboarding, waterskiing, water balloon launching, flavor ice eating, flashlight tag playing, etc. Of course, you’re still wild and wacky, maybe with just a few more creaks in the joints…
Anyhoo, where to begin? Perhaps when we met, like in 1992? 12 years ago? Your recent prayer letter made me reflective/nostalgic about our friendship. When I say ‘our’ I of course mean yours, mine and Annette’s, since I befriended you all at the same time, as a unit. I guess we technically met the summer you all got married, two years prior, but only briefly at the annual FPC ice cream social. The actual summer of meeting was much more memorable. I can remember as if it were yesterday the walk that you, Annette and I took for so long, weaving around the neighborhoods of Florence discussing everything from ministry to pop culture. And then it started raining, who noticed the weather? And we had to go for shelter and my parents’ house and drink tea and talk some more. And later that summer, watching the Real World together, the first foray into reality television. I was impressed early on with how you integrated life and ministry and used things like TV to relate to spiritual life. I felt like I was simultaneously learning from and enjoying you.
Over the years, that theme continued to be true. You have taught me so much about life and ministry and just taking things easy. And of course, little points of trivia about all sorts of things. Oh, and you tried to teach me about that blasted video game, Myst. But that’s another story. Mostly, I have always have had tremendous respect for:
1) the way you treat your lovely wife, and my most special friend in the whole world, Annette. How you treasure and cherish her, how you pay attention to all the details in her life, how you listen to and communicate with her, how you do such special things for her. How you make tea for her and pat her on the head and call her George. Ok, that’s a cartoon .never mind.
2) The zeal with which you approach any project, job or endeavor. You do everything with such wholehearted commitment, no matter what it is. I’m so amazed to think about what all you have accomplished these past ten years with OC. God has gifted you in tremendous ways and you use your gifts to the fullest. You are on the cutting edge of a ministry with huge needs, and Hill and I love to hear every month about what’s happening.
3) Your ability to communicate with all people. What I mean by that is that no matter what group you are addressing, you can target your message accordingly and make it relevant and exciting. For example: you and Annette addressing the youth at Lookout Mtn. Pres., or you explaining your ministry to my parents, or doing the same thing at RTS with a group of seminary students. And your prayer letters are always so engaging and just the right amount of information. In addition, you have a gift of motivating people. I’m ready to charge ahead and do something big for God after hearing you speak. (I realize of course this is Annette’s gift too! But since it’s your birthday, I’m trying to separate here…)
4) Your humility, which is related to the above. You have a wealth of knowledge, but never make anyone feel anything but comfortable in your presence.
5) Your fabulous sense or humor. I honestly never laugh as hard as I do when I’m with you and Annette. It’s such joy to sit around belly laughing with you about all manner of wackiness, It’s such an awesome release! I miss it. You two get back here to SC!!
6) Your appreciation and love of 80’s college scene music. Need I say more? There aren’t many people I can admit to that I am still fond of the Smith’s. and not get kicked OUT of their company, or get prayed for, or at least hear “who are the Smiths?”
7) Your sense of adventure. You and Annette have probably seen more of Mexican countryside than the Mexicans themselves, and surely all other missionaries combined. It’s so fun to think of you and Annette out there exploring volcanoes and caves and ruins, etc. And it reminds me of our most excellent Mexican tour 1999 where I learned that Timmy and I have something in common: a tendency to NOT get carsick!
8) Your servant’s heart. You lay down your life every day for the Lord and serve others with great joy, and that’s a tremendous witness.
9) Your creativity. Wow, I still can’t believe you painted that rug in the Florida love bungalow, or did that trompe d’oeil painting, or designed and built that bed, or those earrings for Annette. And I’m sure there’s lots of other cool stuff I don’t know about.
I could go on, but as you can see, what I’m trying to say is “You’re the tops, you’re the coliseum, you’re the tops, you’re the Louvre museum.” And on your 40th birthday, I will celebrate, if only to make a birthday cake out of bread and cheerios and mustard, as did my freshman year friend Donna. And maybe I’ll even ask others: When you hear the name Tim Gulick, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
1) hoisin sauce
2) blue toothpicks
4) the movie Firestarter
5) the Smiths song “Unhappy Birthday”
And on that bizarre note, I’ll end this letter by saying Happy Birthday, dear Timmy! Reflect, remember, enjoy, eat cake, ice cream too, send pictures, don’t be a stranger. And thank you for your support and friendship lo these many years through my many melancholy ups and downs, unfortunate hairstyles and wardrobe choices, boyfriends, and marriage to Mr. Right and birth of two little munchkins. And thank you for marrying us! To think we were the impetus for your one and only (is this still true?) sermon. You have been the most terrific big brother I never had J
With Love, Susan for all the Davises, which includes Hill, Caleb and Benjamin
p.s. I meant to really be creative and send pictures, but being the unfrozen cavewoman stay at home mother of two with laryngitis who moves next Monday the 15th, this was beyond my capabilities…