Who’s your stump buddy?

{First, let me recognize that many of you have lost loved ones without having the opportunity to celebrate their lives by gathering in person. I weep with you who weep. I want to recognize up front how fortunate we were to have a small masked in-person family funeral. I pray you will soon have a celebration of life for your loved one. I also honor and encourage you to take the time to fully grieve your loss.}

Do you have a stump buddy?

Recently, those of us who were able to travel, gathered for a celebration of life. He was my uncle. Husband to my mom’s youngest sister. Father to my cousins. Grandfather. Photographer. Navy man. Teacher.

I always thought well of him, and considered him a man who had accomplished much. Yet on this very cold, wet January day I learned some things about my uncle that I did not know.

Better still, I learned a valuable lesson about life, death and the value of friendship in between.

My uncle’s best friend stood and cried over the loss of his friend. Eventually as he gathered his emotions and found his voice, he announced to us all that my uncle was his ‘stump buddy‘. In time, as this elderly man regained his message, he painted a picture with words of what it means to be a stump buddy.

They had an agreement. The one left behind would give the eulogy for the other. This man speaking had fully expected that he would be the one watching from glory; however, God had other plans for this pair.

Stump buddies. What does it mean?

Simply this. Two men meeting together on two tree stumps sharing their lives in full. Sharing the real and raw of life in a broken world.

The tree stumps sit under a tree on the property of this dear friend left behind to tell the story. I don’t remember if he told how they met, perhaps they were neighbors. However, in some providencial way they found each other. They found the deepest of friendship.

The stumps became their sacred meeting place, and there these two men conversed about Jesus, the Bible, heaven, sin, forgiveness, and just everyday stuff.

It sounded to me that these stump buddies talked about everything under the sun and often disagreed. Yet, they valued their friendship bonded in the unity of Christ more than any difference threatening to separate them. The friend speaking didn’t attempt to sugar coat their friendship. He didn’t shy away from the splinters caused by their differing personalities either.

Altogether, this friend shared the good, the bad and a little of the ugly. And still the overarching theme of his talk was one of mutual joy and encouragement. These two stump buddies enjoyed their time together under the tree even after my aunt and uncle moved away. Their bond was enough to pull them back together again and again.

I personally am grateful to my uncle’s stump buddy because he was able to tell us with great certainty that my uncle is alive and well in Heaven. The conversations under the tree had been so deeply secured in faith and trust in God and His word that the stump buddy had not one shred of doubt regarding his friend’s eternal location.

What a gift!

I’m so grateful today that my uncle had such a friend who knew him intimately. I’m rejoicing knowing for certain that my uncle is alive and whole in every aspect right now restored with Jesus. And I’m pondering who will be the one who will stand and tell my story (without sugar coating) while announcing my sure promotion to Heaven?

Of course, I can only imagine, but don’t you bet there are stump buddies in Heaven? If so, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice while we’re still living here on Earth?

In an upside down world that can feel more closed than open, a stump buddy is absolutely essential. I pray that if you are feeling isolated, unseen and unheard, that God will help you find at least one person with whom you can share a stump and the stuff of life.

{In loving memory of Uncle Gary, and all who have passed on from this earthly home in the last very difficult year. In honor of stump buddies everywhere around the world. And in honor of you who grieve.}

Eyes on Jesus and Shine,
~ Lisa


1. Do you have a stump buddy? What would you like to say to your dear friend regarding friendship?

2. If you’re looking for a stump buddy: a) Pray for one. b) Ask God to point out a person with whom you have at least one piece of common ground. c) Be one to someone.

3. What aspect of this story encouraged you? What action are you going to take as a result?