Missing My GodBuddy

Today is the 10th anniversary of the unexpected passing of one of my earliest GodBuddies, Christopher J. Davolos, who died on April 1, 2014, after exercising during his lunch break at work. Chris’ influence on me and his friendship embodied the GodBuddy concept, which is why my website is dedicated to Chris.

I honor his wife, Kathy, and their children, Maggie and Ben with this repost knowing a different piece is still missing for each of us without Chris around.

The Friendships Every Guy Needs

In Three Relationships Every Man Needs, I suggested every man needs a Paul (mentor), a Barnabas (peer), and a Timothy (protege) in their life. Barnabas and Paul became close friends as they traveled together on the first of Paul’s three missionary journeys. Nicknamed “Son of Encouragement” and “Son of Exhortation” (see Acts 4:36) Barnabas was at Paul’s side during his best times and also his worst times. His support helped Paul become more confident in his new-found faith. His encouragement helped propel Paul to spread the good news of Jesus’ life. Barnabas was the type of friend Paul needed for that time of his life.

Chris was my Barnabas

Chris Davolos was with me during my best times and also during my worst times. He congratulated me on my successes and encouraged me after my failures. Likewise, I did the same for Chris.

Both of us grew up Catholic so we carried around the burden of trying to live according to the “rules and regulations” of that faith tradition. Over time though, we helped each other learn to let go of the guilt from our past. We came to understand better God’s amazing love and grace by sending His Son to live among us and die on the cross. Jesus paid the ultimate price to redeem our past, present, and future sins. We came to accept this undeserving gift of love and mercy and were released from our guilt.

Chris and I knew we were both far from perfect. We help each other learn to let go of the past. We held each other accountable to live to a higher standard as godly men. Like Barnabas did for Paul, we encouraged each other when we were down. We helped each other become more godly men by doing life together.

We enjoyed hanging out together…

Chris and I would run or bike together on many weekends. We talked through many issues. We’d play golf on occasion or get together just to watch a ball game on TV. We sat on committees at church, studied the Bible together, and participated in small groups. Chris and I genuinely enjoyed each other’s company.

…but we also disagreed like Paul and Barnabas.

Like Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41), Chris and I had some sharp disagreements throughout our journey together as GodBuddies. We often did not see “eye to eye” and fiercely debated many topics. However, we always spoke the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), especially whenever it was something not up to our agreed-upon standards for living as followers of Christ.

One disagreement in particular was in the company of Bill Johnson, my original GB. The three of us (plus some else I do not remember) attended a White Sox baseball game. I suggested we play the “Cup Game” in which you bet on the outcome of each particular batter. Chris was known to be very frugal and did not want to play but we goaded him into participating (He probably agreed because the tickets were given to us for free).

To understand our disagreement though, you need to understand the Cup Game.

Cup Game Rules

An empty beer cup (ideally one that is rinsed out!) would pass between each person in your group after each batter. The person holding the cup puts a dollar into the cup and takes out an amount depending on the results of the at-bat. For example, the cup holder would remove $1 for a single, $2 for a double, or $3 for a triple. If your hitter hit a home run, the cup holder would empty the cup of all the money. A grand slam home run required everyone else to pay the cup holder an extra $5.

Conversely, if the hitter made an out when you held the cup, you left the dollar in and passed the cup on. If your batter hits into a Double Play, you put in an extra $1. A Base on Balls (a walk) allowed you to take your dollar out since it resulted in no official at-bat for the player. For a Fielder’s Choice (where the runner already on base is forced out by the hitter’s ball in play), the cup-holder passes the cup but does not get their dollar back since the at-bat was considered a recorded out, even though the hitter was still on base.

Our Dispute Over $1

The rift came when Chris was holding the cup and the batter caused a “strike ’em out, throw ’em out” double play (where the batter strikes out and the runner is caught trying to steal a base simultaneously). Chris became very upset since he felt his batter only caused one of the outs. The rest of us said it was a double play and required Chris to put an extra $1 in the cup (the official Cup Game Rules stated as such, by the way. In fact, we even called a mutual friend who confirmed our position!)

Chris stubbornly opted out of the rest of the Cup Game in protest and continued to debate his case for the rest of the ball game. He stewed the entire ride home and insisted he was right. As guys will often do, Bill and I continued to poke fun at him and kept the playful banter going. It’s the way guys show their brotherly love and respect for each other.

This story has become a long-running chuckle among us (of course, it was not funny at the time to Chris!). I still smile whenever I think of the story.

We “Sharpened” Each Other

Chris and I had many good times together that far overshadowed our disagreements. He encouraged me when I needed it most. He challenged me to think more deeply on many topics. We become better together.

Proverbs 27:17 suggests, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man shall sharpen another.” Chris and I sharpened each other into better husbands, fathers, and Christians. I miss him greatly but know that I’m a better man by having Chris as one of my GodBuddies.

I pray that everyone who reads this page will find a Barnabas who helps them become a better person… just like Chris Davolos did for me!


2 Responses

  1. I lost a good friend Easter morning, two days before his birthday. Knew him since high school. He was the kindest, least pretentious, most humble human being. Loved by all his newest and oldest circle of friends. His struggles in life were great and he endured and defeated many with a strength of character beyond anything one can imagine. RIP.

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