Rev. Kevin Sinclair the Hospitaller

Since March the Twenty-Second, Two-Thousand and Fourteen,  Anno Domini, I have been living with my friend: Reverend Kevin Ray Sinclair in Houston.

My time in communal living with him is coming to an end on May 31st, even though I now live in Houston and will be able to see him, the bond that we have reforged in our short reunion has impacted me in such a way that I can’t help but write about it here.

Kevin and I met in 2003 when I started pledging for the Hardin-Simmons fraternity Kappa Phi Omega in the aforementioned year. And because there are far too many stories about laughter, heartbreak, depression, and change that are intertwined in the narrative of our friendship, I will only say this –

The Seth Humble & Kevin Sinclair story is the single most epic Buddy cop film yet to be put on film.  The role of dashing, plucky upstart Kevin should be played by a young, handsomely bearded Marlon Brando.

Marlon Brando as Kevin Sinclair

Marlon Brando as Kevin Sinclair

While I would like the role of me, the hardline and cynical veteran detective to be played by some tall, strikingly handsome European man of Shakespearean quality…to preserve historical accuracy.

I freaking wish.

Ian McKellen as Seth Humble.
We could be brothers, everyone says so.

It is easy to say that Kevin has been one of my dearest friends for the last decade of my life, easier still is it to say that he has been my brother confessor, and easiest of all is to say that his gentle fingerprint is imbedded into my own heart.

When I met Kevin I was a different human being, and more the man in my basement than the person I am now. I was living life through a lens of anger.

I was a racist.

I was a bigot.

I was broken and too proud to see that I needed mending.

It was providential then that I met Kevin at that nexus point in my life; you see as I am someone who breaks things, Kevin is, by the unique gifts of Christ, a mender. While we are polar opposites in so many regards, we are brothers of familiar wounds, sons of old Texas mentality fathers, and we share a fraternal joy in the power of storytelling. And it is appropriate that our first moment of friendship was spent on a couch, inside the Kappa shanty, with him playing a Country Western lick on his guitar and the both of us making up lyrics to a Tall Tale ballad we entitled, “We’re Just Good Ole’ Country Boys.”

Kevin reminds me of my Grandfather, the venerable Pa Max, because when I am with him Kevin makes me feel like the single most hilarious human being on the planet, but rarely ever makes me feel like I’m a joke. While at times it is hard to get his attention, once he gives it to you, you see in those crystal blue eyes of his that you’re the most important person in the universe to him.

And I have felt that way many times over the last two months, usually during our mornings when we take our coffee together, and sometimes breakfast. We sit, usually with me to the right of him, and he’ll lead me into a story that he likes to hear me tell, or he’ll see me staring out the tall, storm window with great anxiety on my face and ask me “You okay?”, and best of all he’ll pick up that warm, throaty guitar of his and take us both into song. And every time we sing, I feel like I’m sitting on that couch in Abilene, our friendship taking root all over again. We’ll sing George Jones, George Strait, Marty Robbins, and best of all Johnny Cash. We aren’t adverse to the new stuff, we are just old souls when it comes to music.

Kevin and I have been a rolling harmony that has been as changing as the ocean’s shifting tide and as constant as the firmament of the earth.  All of which is a life-song we pronounce as thanks to the God of Rescue, who broke chains in both our lives by giving us each other. Many of those infirmities I share here on this blog, but those he has shared with me I keep locked away, for his confidence in my loyalty is principle in the self-respect that keeps me upright.

We’ve had exactly one argument in our time as friends, seven years ago, which was over a theological position I so staunchly defended then, and now wear like a branded badge of shame – to think I once believed in a doctrine of law over a theology of liberation, and much of that change in my life is due to Kevin’s healing presence.

Metaphorically, Kevin has been essential in the saving of my life- which means he is a part of the slow miracle God is ushering into my each new day.

Literally however, Kevin saved my life in the Fall of 2005 when I collapsed in my dorm room from the combination of the Flu and the most devastating asthma attack I’ve had since I was an infant. The swift miracle of that moment was that I flipped open my phone and hit the call button twice, just to try and get someone on the phone to help me. With all the world fading to dark circles, he was the voice who answered the phone, and wouldn’t you know, he was only moments away. Kevin, and my pledge brother Matt, found me in my room, struggling to try and get up off the floor while suffocating from a childhood sickness I thought I’d outgrown.

“Five more minutes and you might not have made it,” is what the nurse said to me after I recovered a few hours and three breathing treatments later.  Kevin Sinclair is a healer in both effect and indelible personality.

Kevin Sinclair is a Knight Hospitaller, and by the Grace of God, all he needs is five dedicated minutes to make it abundantly clear that at his very worst he’ll change your life, and at his very best, he can be an instrument by which God can save it.

Therefore, I am so very humbled to have reconnected with this modern day Sir Bedivere, this man who I know that if I had a dying wish, he’d ask me to consider it twice and then knowing it was my final will, bring it to fruition with the firm knowledge that God is divining all things to an eventual goodness.

For at his belt hung excaliber

“Qu’il avoit cainte Escalibor”

Kevin the Hospitaller understands how to love and heal me me when we are smoking on the balcony together and he says, “You’re a good man, Seth. And you’re a good friend.” Because he knows words of affirmation are the love language I chiefly need.

Kevin Sinclair of the Cross, understands the love of the suffering servant, Christ, when on Holy Wednesday of this year he said,

“In the cross, God not only conquers and nullifies sin, God experiences, alongside us, the weight and burden of our suffering. When Jesus Christ cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me. ” he cries a cry of dereliction that echoes into eternity for all men, women, and children who hang on history’s crosses.”

Kevin Sinclair – knightly friend, a brother worthy of all my epistles, and minister to the brokenhearted – thank you for letting me live with you again.

For it has been my sincere pleasure.