Foxhole: noun; a shallow pit dug by a soldier in combat for immediate refuge against enemy fire.
During the war, the men that shared a foxhole trusted and depended on each other. They had each others back. Obviously this is an essential component in a hostile battle zone. However, in the foxholes of life, we need people like that too. I am blessed to have quite a few of those peeps in my life, but a standout comes to mind in Matt Hightower.
This is an ode to my dear friend Matt, whom we’ve known for more than thirty years. Our children have always called him Big Matt to distinguish from our youngest son of the same name. It is a moniker that stuck.
Upon first glance, you would perhaps notice a manly man with a gruff exterior. The age old adage proves true here as well, we must never judge a book by its cover. His offhand exterior belies a man who photographs sunsets on the bay just for their sheer beauty, shows up at other people’s children’s sporting events in support of their endeavors, drives all night to rescue a mother and her children from an impending hurricane, and gets up and fixes breakfast for an aging mother-in-law. This is a man you can depend on in a moment’s notice. This is a man that doesn’t forget the important things in life. This is a man you definitely want in your foxhole. This is a man you want to emulate.
In addition to the softer side, he also calls a spade a spade. He will give you truth, but along with it comes the grace in equal measure. It is so comforting to be around someone like that that, because you are never in question of where you stand, but you are never in doubt that they still love you. That is a difficult balance to achieve, yet somehow he does.
We also call him our MacGyver, the resourceful character from the television show of the same name. He can fix anything and rig the most wonderful of contraptions – a cooler with a top that channels music from the air waves, or myriads of technological gadgets for wind, weather, and sea. We know that when Armageddon comes, for real people or zombies, we will make our way to his stronghold and get into his foxhole. He will know what to do.
More than anything, though, Matt gives us the benchmark to strive toward. He is the embodiment of what it looks like to love your neighbor. There are those star lights out there in the cosmos that twinkle a little more brightly to aim our ships toward. Matt is one of those for us. He is a Tree Star in my life…a reminder of what God calls us all to be. We will try a little bit harder Big Matt, in our quest, thanks to you. In your own immortal words…we WILL miss you when you’re gone.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. ~ Proverbs 17:17