Today’s post is for the one and only Mike, who was our prayer and music coordinator on Young Neighbors. I first heard Mike’s name last year in Detroit from our program director (who quickly became a great friend) Sarah, who talked him up like you just HAD to know this guy or your life wouldn’t be complete. In a stroke of pure coincidence, Mike just happened to be placed in Chicago for both of Dan’s weeks this summer, AND also happened to be scheduled for our week in Omaha! Needless to say, Mike and Dan became fast friends, and I jumped on the bandwagon as soon as I met him myself. Besides being funny, witty and genuinely kind, Mike is insanely talented, and prayer both morning and evening were incredible all week thanks to him. Umm, and he knows all of the words to Party in the USA by the infamous Miley Cyrus. There are very few things in life I love more than sitting around and hanging out in a hoodie with friends, but if you add in a sing along of teeny bopper songs I should be embarrassed to know, it really doesn’t get much better than that.
I mentioned solidarity yesterday, and for me, a big part of service trips has always been taking it to heart when Dan tells the teens “This is not the time for fancy clothes and makeup and blow dryers – we’re there to work and live in community with the people we’re serving. Those things don’t matter.” (He obviously says this much more eloquently than I am, but you get it.) Point is, I don’t even so much as bring lip gloss with me on service trips, and outside of combing my hair when I get out of the shower it’s in a ponytail on top of my head most of the week. This year, I struggled a little early in the week with my typical looking like a major scrub while the other women did their hair and makeup, and for some reason it bugged me more than usual. Mike picked up on my mood and helped me realize that looking good wasn’t a priority for me – he told me “That’s just not the type of experience you’re here to have. And that’s ok.” I needed that. We also had a little heart to heart about some of the mental health issues I’ve dealt with over the last several years, and he was an awesome sounding board throughout the week whenever I got hit with something that made me anxious.
Mike – thanks for living up to the rave reviews I heard about you long before we met, for getting us all ready for the workday each morning with your talent, and for listening to my fears and anxieties about the future (I’m sure Dan appreciated a break from that in particular) ;). We’re lucky to have you as a friend and I can’t wait to hang out more in the future and meet Jen. Please make sure she isn’t creeped out by the fact that I am convinced we will be besties as soon as we meet.