Guest Post by Robyn Short
Co-leaders Joey Cope and Betty Gilmore taking a break from training with our mascot, Mazzie Star.
If you have been following Joey’s blog for some time, then you are familiar with his thoughtful and often humorous perspective on life. If you are a friend or family member of the “Africa Peace Mission Team,” then you may be getting to know Joey along with the rest of us. You see … like you, we experience the more personal side of Joey in his writings. In person, he is the quiet observer. When we read his writing, we understand the inner workings of his mind.
Joey listens. He watches. He takes notes. There is an African proverb that describes Joey well: “The fool speaks. The wise man listens.” And our Joey is indeed a wise man.
Like a patchwork quilt, Joey is our thread. He holds our individual layers together. We are a loud and boisterous group. We are full of strong opinions, as well as laughter and jokes. Individually, we are a mismatched and seemingly random collection of patches and color. Through his keen observations, subtle nudges and one-on-one counsel, Joey has softly and quietly woven our unique patches into a single, beautiful quilt.
Dan describes Joey well. “I think that Joey provides a soulful wisdom and real-life moral compass for our group. We would all be better mediators if we had ‘what would Joey do’ as personal mottos. In addition, Joey has the type of voice, knowledge and quiet charisma that makes one want to listen when he speaks; because you know he is worth listening to.”
It is no surprise that Dan thought of the “what would Joey do” phrase. Remember the WWJD lanyards from many years ago? Joey does indeed exemplify a Christ-like presence through his unconditional love and peacemaker actions.
Betty, Joey’s co-lead on this team, describes Joey as the team’s “father” because of his strength, ability to offer support and exercise discipline. Fathers lead; they offer advice; they demonstrate wisdom. Yes, Joey is our team’s father.
When I think of Joey, I think about his generosity of spirit, his tremendous kindness, and his ability to see the Divine in us all. Joey is a true peacemaker. His love for all God’s creatures, the two-legged and the four-legged, is experienced in his actions.
When Joey is not writing for this blog, working with the Africa Peace Mission Team or learning valuable lessons about love, compassion and collaboration from his guru Togo, you will find him at Abilene Christian University where he shares his knowledge and wisdom as the executive director of the Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution.
We are blessed to know Joey. We are fortunate to have him co-lead our team with Betty. But I suspect you already know that, because like us, Joey has blessed your life too and made your time on this planet a bit more precious.