Early this morning, the Spirit called a friend to mind so I thought I would check on him to see how he was doing. Mike had heart surgery earlier this year and was having some troubles during the recovery process. But, I thought he’d managed to fight his way through because he always seemed to land on his feet no matter the cards life dealt him. I’d had the opportunity to speak with him a couple of times before surgery and shortly after and he was in good spirits. After his initial surgery, we traded a few texts through Facebook and Big Mike would update me on his condition.
This morning, when the Spirit brought Mike‘s name to my mind, I realized I hadn’t heard from him or seen any posts from him lately. For the entire time that I knew him, Mike was an avid sports fan. He had pursued a career in sports broadcasting. That’s how Mike and I met.
It was football season. Surely, Mike was posting about his beloved Seattle Seahawks. So I visited his page only to discover Mike had passed away in early June.
Over the years we lose touch with people who at some point were part of our everyday life. At least I do. Maybe, I’m just not a good friend. Life happens. You go in different directions. Other times, drifting apart slowly. It’s not anything malicious. Life just leads us in different directions and we get busy living the life we’re living.
Before his heart surgery, Mike and I had a great phone conversation. He had battled a number of health issues in recent years, overcoming each one slowly but surely. He had a zest for life and looked forward to spending time with his family, particularly his two daughters. Naturally, he had some concerns about the surgery. After all, heart surgery is still pretty serious to us—the patient—-even if it is a matter of routine to a surgeon. Modern medicine is full of miracles. I prayed with him at the end of our call—-eyes open, since I was driving at the time (a good practice). He texted me later to tell me he felt a peace about the road ahead. Mike got through the surgery okay. But, the recovery was difficult. He felt up to the challenge. Big Mike was always determined.
Growing up, one of my favorite TV shows was “The Andy Griffith Show.” I have fond memories of my Dad and I watching it together when I was younger. We usually watched in the evenings right after supper. Terri recently shared the clip above with me. It still makes me laugh. There are a number of episodes in which Sheriff Taylor tested Barney Fife’s history acumen. This one is definitely one of my favorites.
Mike is the second friend in less than a year that I found out died through social media. Neither made it to sixty. Both were pals who I celebrated life with back in the 80s (yes, those 80s).
Truth is, I’ve lost many friends back from those days. People who were key players in my everyday life then and who left their mark on me to this day. These are people who’ve impacted me positively in some way or another. Most likely, we celebrated life together back in those days—-maybe at a General Hospital theme party or Halloween celebration.
I’ve read wonderful comments about the man Mike had become—-he was a loving member of his community, who generously gave of his time and treated others kindly. That’s the Big Mike I remember, too.
Today, I want to encourage you to pick up your phone and reach out to an old friend with whom you haven’t talked in a good while. Maybe, it’s someone you lost touch with and you’ve thought about dialing their number or considered shooting them a text. Do it. Like dreams, people die daily. Sometimes suddenly. Often unexpectedly.
May the Lord, our God, bless you and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
The Devotional Guy™