Sunday, April 28, 2013

Knowing Someone

"Instead, I have called you friends…" -John 15:15 Knowing someone, I mean, really knowing someone is awesome. Proverbs 18:24 states that, “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Translation in 2013, "Having a thousand Facebook friends means little, but having one true brother means a lot!" True brother/sister friendships are rare. They are rare because they are risky. The hurdles jumped on the way to true friendship are high, but the prize at the end of the race is a life-long friendship. Certainly we need friendships as we journey through this life, but there is no "friend that sticks closer than a brother" like Jesus. Steering our kids and loved ones toward Him, as a friend, means they will walk in true friendship forever. In one of my favorite scenes in Avatar, Jake Sully turns to Neytiri and says, “I see you.” Neytiri responds back to him, “I see you too.” They were expressing the understanding and love that they had for one another as they knew each other. Then their tails joined together and they skipped off into the sunset. I never truly understood the tail thing. I remember when I was in 5th grade I went to Camp Carter, a YMCA camp in Fort Worth. I was pretty shy but excited to go to camp with Joe Padget and my other friends. I enjoyed the time but I remember feeling left out at the rifle range. The head counselor there made these special T-shirts for some of the guys in my cabin, but he didn't make me one. I remember thinking, “I’m going to get to know this guy so he’ll make me a T-shirt.” I hung out at the rifle range as much as I could and talked to him at meals and stuff. I know, pretty pitiful just to get a T-shirt, but hey, they were cool. The last day of camp, guess what that counselor handed me? You guessed it, a T-shirt. I still have that shirt in my closet (just kidding). The point is, I wanted to know him (even if my motive was weak). When we want to know someone, we spend time with them. In Philippians 3:10, Paul shares, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering, becoming like Him in His death.” Paul wanted to know Christ. Sure, he’d wanted to experience power and fellowship, but he wanted to know Jesus. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you will get to enjoy eternal friendship with Him. But you can enjoy the friendship with Him today on planet earth. How are you doing in your relationship with Jesus? Is He an “acquaintance” these days or a true friend? Do you “see” Jesus? Of course, He always sees us. But am I relaxed in the grace of a friendship with Him? It’s easy to feel “left out at the rifle range,” but when I humble myself and reach towards Christ, He always reaches back. Always! And He promises to bless us with something even better than a T-shirt. He promises to bless us with His grace and love. by Eric Joseph Staples ©

Monday, April 8, 2013

Thank You

Not a blog, per se, but an opportunity to tell everyone thanks for the outpouring of love on the passing of my dear brother Pelham this past week. I'd prefer to respond individually to every voicemail, letter, email, text and post to the blog, but there are just too many. Your prayers and encouragement have made a huge difference to the Staples family. During my crazy drive to Houston during the wee hours of Tuesday morning, your prayers kept me alert. During the difficult week at MD Anderson, your prayer gave the doctors discernment. During Pel's struggle to battle the cancer, your prayers gave him strength. During the difficult decisions of Wednesday and Thursday, your prayers gave the family wisdom. During Pel's letting go, I'm confident your prayers gave him peace. And during the grieving through his death, your prayers are giving us comfort and assurance. Now, we face another difficult journey as we move on without Pel. But God is more than graceful to fill the void. Thank you for your continued prayers in the days ahead and for your friendship. So grateful, Joseph Staples on behalf of the Staples family

Sunday, April 7, 2013


"…we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord" -2 Cor. 5:8 My awesome brother Pelham passed away a few days ago. Surrounded by most of his family, he took his last breath and immediately his suffering ended and peace began. He went home. Most of us had spent the week with him at MD Anderson in Houston where the excellent Staff did all they could to stem the tide of the suddenly super aggressive cancer that he'd been battling for over ten years. But none of that matters now. Pel is home. Home is an awesome place. It's cozy, predictable, smells just right and feels secure. But home is not a house. Robin Hobb wrote, “Home is people. Not a place. If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there any more.” She is so right. It's all about the people; it's all about family. A year ago, Pel decided to move to Fort Worth from Colorado, where he'd lived for a long time. We were all a bit surprised, but excited that he was moving closer to family in Texas. It became apparent that along with his TV and clothes, he was also bringing something else back with him: cancer. We were hoping it wouldn't be allowed to cross the Colorado-Texas state line, but cancer knows no boundaries. So, he bought a house here in Fort Worth and he came home. I think he intuitively knew that his days were short. He probably never shared all the details of how sick he was with us. Like all us "tough" Staples boys, Pel was hard on the outside and soft on the inside. No matter how sick he was, there wasn't a time that I called Pel that he didn't say how well he was doing. "I'm great", he would say, "How are you?" Many times, I thought I knew better. I knew he was super sick, but Pel refused to give in to the sickness. There's a story about a man who was asked how he was doing, "I'm OK, under the circumstances." The reply back was, "Well, what are you doing under there?" Pel refused to be dictated by his sickness. You could call that "denial," I guess, or maybe it was something even better. Maybe it was more "acceptance" of the difficulty and a "moving on" in his spirit. But Pel also knew that he was human. And when the days are difficult and the load heavy, there's simply "no place like home." Though he missed his loved ones in Colorado, I think Pel felt like it was time to be with family in Fort Worth. So he set up shop right here in Texas. But his sickness had another agenda. There's another Home and it makes our home here on earth seem like a cheap hotel room. It's called Heaven. And though we only know a few of the details, we know it's awesome. Over the years, Pel and I had long talks about God. A few months ago, he wrote me a long letter about his faith. In it, he said, "I do believe in God and I do pray" and listed 7 reasons why he believes. I think he heard the voice of God calling him Home. Pel lived a remarkable life. As a physician, his healing hands served and preserved life for countless men, women and babies. He raised three wonderful sons and was a loyal friend to so many people. He was a great brother to Marc, Bob and me as he simply took responsibility for his little brothers. Since my dad died in 1988, he called and checked up on us often. But ultimately, he heeded the call of God and went home. So, have a blast Pel. Enjoy the safety and security of Heaven. All the detail questions about God don't matter now, just rest in His presence. Enjoy the absence of pain and the presence of peace… and a marvelous homecoming. By Eric Joseph Staples © To see obituary:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Big Brother Pelham

"… but there's a friend who sticks closer than a brother"- Prv. 18:24 I have three wonderful big brothers: Pelham, 9 years older, Marc, 7 years older and Bob, 4 years older. They all have been awesome encouragers and supporters to me over the years. Siblings are God's gift to mold and spur us on to be more than we would be by ourselves. The four of us are very different, but we share the common denominator of being Staples' brothers. My oldest brother Pelham was my "true" Big Brother. When we'd divide up into 2 teams to play basketball, I was always on his team. It was Pel (what we called him) and Joey against Marc and Bob. And I loved knowing that Pel "had my back." If Bob or Marc messed with me, it was Pel who stepped in to say, "Huh, is there a problem here?" I felt so secure when I was standing or playing next to Pel. That's why brothers (and sisters) were invented. They are God's reminder that He has our back and desires to use those closest to us to be His hands in the process. I always looked up to Pel. He was a great athlete and went on to play football at SMU in the late 70's when they were an awesome powerhouse team! And he tried lots of "cool" stuff as he figured out his career path: He worked for an exterminating company, he went to Officers Candidate School in the Marines, and he even went to FBI school for a while. Then finally, he became a physician. And to top it all off, I remember him taking me for a drive in his gold Malibu as he played "Blood, Sweat and Tears" music for me on his 8-track. Oh my gosh…I really thought I was special. I'm in Houston this week at M.D. Anderson Hospital with my brother Pel as he's fighting yet another battle against cancer. He was first diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago and has grown a little weaker with each skirmish. This may be his last fight. But he's had these battles before and always prevailed. As I'm sitting in his crowded hospital room, I look around at Pel's sons who are here: Pell (the 4th), Scott and Alex. They are great kids and close brothers. It reminds me that the cycle starts all over again. That's what families do. That's what brothers and sisters do- they pass it on. So, thank you Pel for being such an awesome Big Brother. Thanks for sticking up for me and protecting me. Thanks for all the phone calls over the years. To some, it may have appeared that all we talked about was football. But what you were really doing was reminding me that I was OK. You were telling me again that you "had my back." I hope you win this latest battle. But, win or not, I pray you rest in the arms of the dearest Father of all, …God Himself. By Eric Joseph Staples ©