One Magical Night

12 06 2016

You could hear the surprise in people as Mike made his way onto the stage; that sound we all make when we suddenly inhale from something unexpected. Many in our little Mike_0002community knew Mike; he would be what a friend called one of God’s special people. You see, though his body showed him to be in his 40s, Mike was mentally closer to a 10-year-old. And it was through that childlike mindset that Mike saw everyone as a perspective friend, especially if he could be of some help to them.

On this evening Christian recording artist Kathy Troccoli was performing at our local park where several thousand had gathered in lawn chairs to hear her, my Lady and me included. It was a fabulous night as Kathy belted out many of her well-known songs and took the time to share her faith.  Toward the end of the concert Troccoli asked, “Is there anyone in the audience that does sign language who would like to come up and help me with this next song?  Enter Mike.  Before anyone else could react he was on his feet and heading to the stage. It didn’t take much for Kathy to realize someone special had joined her. With a little concern she asked if he was sure about doing this. “Oh yes, my mother taught me,” was Mike’s answer while trying to hide a childlike giggle with his hands. Chairs were brought onto the stage because Mike suffered from a degenerating bone disease making it hard to stand long.  And so they began;

“Life can be so good
Life can be so hard
Never knowing what each day
Will bring to where you are
Sometimes I forget
And sometimes I can’t see
That whatever comes my way
You’ll be with me”

“My life is in your hands
My heart is in your keeping
I’m never without hope
Not when my future is with you”
“My life is in your hands
And though I may not see clearly
I will lift my voice and sing
Cause your love does amazing things
Lord, I know, my life is in your hands”

Friends and family, I’m here to tell you, there might have been two people on that stage but the onlookers were only seeing one; and it wasn’t Kathy. At that moment every eye was fixed not on an individual deemed mentally challenged, they were gazing on a face that appeared ever so angelic in the spotlights of the stage. With hands and arms moving like a maestro that leads an orchestra, Mike took empty space and drew vivid pictures for all of us to see conceptually. His eyes, mouth and whole appearance took on the movement of the music and song showing gladness and sadness, hope and determination, reverence and complete awe. At first when they completed the song, there was silence. As I looked around the audience many were wiping tears from their eyes, (yours truly included) before bursting into the biggest ovation of the night as Kathy hugged a once again boy in a man’s body trying to hide his happiness. When leaving the park at the end of the concert I heard a gentleman remark, “I’ve listened to this song many times, but tonight is the first time I actually heard it.” As I pondered his statement a thought came to me on why that was.

Mark 10:15 “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

In others words God doesn’t love us on the merits of our talents and intellect, He wants us to strip off the pride and come to Him in humility, meekness, complete faith. For Mike that was easy I suppose because the innocence of youth never left him, but for the rest of us I know it’s a struggle as we find ourselves growing up in a cynical world. But I like a quote from Catherine Doherty where she says,

“Faith walks simply, childlike, between the darkness of human life and the hope of what is to come.”

Perhaps if we could find a way to emulate the faith of this happy hearted “Traveler of the Rock Road” more of us would be inclined to place our lives in His hands. Or as Catherine Doherty would put it,

“Lord give me the heart of a child, and the awesome courage to live it out as an adult.”

Thanks for being my friend, Mike; you taught me more than you’ll ever realize here on earth.

See ya next time.Mike_0002


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