Saturday, September 27, 2008
Singing Through Our Tears
Today we celebrated and honored the life of Mitch Thomas. Mitch has been battling Leukemia for about 16 months, and the Lord brought about complete healing as He brought Mitch to the heavenly realms early Tuesday morning.
I've known Mitch for so long, I don't even remember when I would have first met him. Our parents went to Bible College together and even sang in a group together, as we were destined to become friends long before we knew it. I can recall our yearly family trips to the Spokane area when we would hang out with the Roberts and Thomas kids--we were all loud and crazy together. My most vivid memories with Mitch occured when I was living in Spokane in the Spring of '03 while I was student teaching. I spent plenty of time with the entire Thomas family, and I can remember different times when i was lonely, Mitch just seemed to pop in at the Roberts house where I was living. He always had a funny story to share and was genuinely interested in my life. I remember one night in particular when we decided we should get a group of people together after I graduated and go backpack in Europe! We went on-line searching prices and planning who should come with us. (although the trip never happened!)
Mitch and I kept in contact through Facebook every now and then, and when he was diagnosed with cancer, I decided that even though we may not have been super close friends, I wanted to make sure he knew how much we cared about him and prayed for him almost every day. And yet even in our communication he was so selfless and giving.
Jared and I were able to visit him in the hospital in August while he was still healthy and strong--the first time I had seen him in several years. He was the same Mitch I had always remembered, but wiser, stronger, and so mature in the Lord. We so enjoyed our conversation that day, and we ended our visit by planning a double date together with his beautiful fiance (now wife).
The last time we saw Mitch was on one of the most impactful nights of my life when about 200 people surrounded the Thomas house as we held a prayer vigil for healing of Mitch. Everyone there was so unified in heart and mind. Although Mitch had to stay in the house, we arrived early with my parents and he and Chelsea came out onto the front porch so they could talk to us without the barrier of a window. It is so amazing to me that the last time I saw him was a moment when he made me feel so special and loved by greeting us in that special way.
I am convinced that as Mitch passed into eternity, he felt more love on earth then most people do in their lifetime. It is evidenced in the life of his family, and in his bride Chelsea in particular. The joy of the Lord runs so strongly in her veins, it is a blessing just to be in her presence.
Today we all sang through tears of joy that he has reached the final destination, and tears of extreme sadness that we have physically lost our brother. It was a hard day...but it was good, because the presence of the Lord was in that place. As I look ahead, I plan on joining the Thomas family in their grieving process, loving on Chelsea and Mitch's sister Charese and her husband David and his other sibling Luke and his wife Jennifer in particular (as they all attend our church).
I love life, and my own life in enhanced because of the life of Mitchell Alan Thomas.
Keep singing and dancing up there Mitch, can't wait to join you!