I met Michael when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. One of the church families had gone calling and stopped to call at a home near the foot of one of the Appalachian Mountains "back in PA." Michael was their first born son. Andy, their second son, was in my grade at the local public school. Only Michael chose to attend the services regularly. He brought his own entertainment. Slightly mentally challenged, Michael was a constant amazement or amusement. As I recall, he always wanted to be a part of the action and loved to play any role as designated helper.
One of the things Michael wanted to do was play the organ. Somehow he obtained a beginner organ - a little plastic organ that came with the notes of the keyboard attached, a book with easy to read instructions and simple songs. OH, WAS HE EVER EXCITED!!!
He played, he practiced, he played, he practiced...you get my point...he would carry it to church so he could play the special!! THAT was interesting!
Years and years have passed....
This past summer I held a VBS for a church near the little town of Roxbury, PA where Michael still lives...
who do you suppose was one of the first to meet me? Uh huh, Mike.
Ever the helpful, he carried my things, helped me set up, turned on the fans, suggested I move my car -- would have moved it for me but I was driving a rental, therefore a very logical reason why he shouldn't - and then came the moment, "Charlotte, let me show you the organ. I'm the organist here." THE ORGANIST??? Really???? Proudly he took me over to the organ and lovingly pushed back the lid. He began to play .... I was amazed! Michael could play, I mean really, truly play the organ!! Not only could he play, but he was playing the very song I had just taught the children a few days ago --- with the Mexican sound and rhythm -- by ear!
Michael humbles me. He does his best to serve God in the way he can understand. He openly acknowledges his past failure and sin but assures me God has forgiven him. No job is too big and no task too small for him. And the details he remembers!!!! He brought back to mind things that I had long ago forgotten. He knew all my siblings names and most of the spouses, where we had lived, occupations....stuff that we did as children! He has held the same job at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Chambersburg for over 20 years -- serving in the dishroom -- knowing full well that his pay is still minimum wage but should be sooo much higher because of his years there. Yet he goes back - he needs a job, he knows the people -- LOTS of people.
Probably some of you have run into Mike. Once you meet him, you don't forget.
At any rate, tonight I happened to find these pictures...those of you that know Mike, know that you gotta love him. He is one of God's very special people.
Michael, you'll never read this, but thanks for putting your special touch on your corner of the world.