Michael row my boat with you…..

Mike Sheets962903_10151352989206618_1795816757_n
He was the closest person I have ever known to die. It has been tragic. It stings so deeply, thinking of his shining face and goofy laugh.   Michael Sheets was one of the boys, he was in love with Anna, and he was a wonderful dad to Morgan and Jordan, and a good, good man. He was an excellent soccer player, a very intelligent mechanical minded worker, he was a Load Master for Flight 102 that crashed this Spring on April 29th, in Afghanistan. (please visit http://www.ncr102.org). There were seven men aboard the cargo plane, all died. The families are distraught. It is a terrible unfortunate and untimely sad story. The plane went up and came right back down as if the engine stalled. In those 30 seconds or so that Michael had as the plane was going down, he chose to call Anna. She was getting the children ready for school and didn’t pick up. She was his last call. Knowing Mike, he was running around the airplane trying to make other people feel comfortable and call Anna at the same time to let her know everything would be okay.
Anna is one of those girls that you know you will always have as a true friend. She is playful and comes from a big warm and fun family. Her getting to love Mike was the best thing ever. After a challenging relationship it was some time for Anna to be ready to love again. She fell in love with Mike, he loved her kids, family and friends in a way that she described as perfect. She kept saying to us after his funeral…..”I am so fortunate that I got to fall in love with my best friend.”
There have been so many amazing things and stories that I have witnessed due to Mike’s death. I don’t really want to share them all here, because I feel so emotional about it all I just end up weeping instead of typing…but I really feel God is calling me to share this so that you can hear and know that God is who He says He is. He is the Lord   of Heaven and Earth, and just in case you’re someone who isn’t a believer, I will spare you the suspense: there is a   HEAVEN. And you know what that means: there is a HELL. I know this is difficult, especially if you are questioning how you are living your life and GOD  is looking down on you. It doesn’t matter. You need to know this: Jesus came to save you, He loves you, He wants you, and HE is REAL.I know this now, more than ever. When someone dies there are always those questions in the back of your mind- did He make it?
During a prayer meeting at the home of Michael the night he died, Carol Love, (Anna’s mom) saw Mike smiling his gap-toothed smile perfectly at peace and HOME with Jesus. Right after she shared this with his group of friends and family, his close friend Mark said he saw the same thing. Pretty cool. And we all felt Mike’s presence in the moment, kind of like, “hey you guys, would you stop crying already? I’m HOME!” Mike was one of those who didn’t necessarily call himself a Christian, he just WAS. He was faithful, generous, and kind to everyone. They kept   saying at his funeral that he wasn’t judgmental. It’s true. And that is a very hard way to be. I am often overwhelmed with my own thoughts about people and situations. I am a sinner. The worst of all. Mike, on he other hand, really, I’m not even exaggerating, was pure of heart. He loved the people he knew, and he didn’t put anybody in a box. He liked to have fun, and he valued his friends, children, and especially Anna. It’s hard to see someone like that go, even more when you feel the loss of his parents, and his sweetheart, and her kids. We all needed you, Mike, and it’s so hard to say goodbye.
My husband was much closer to Mike than I was. When I met Abel and fell in love with him I soon had to learn to love Mike as well, because he lived in our house, together with a Pit Bull, a Reticulated Python, and a large collection of Brian’s cichlids. And there was BOYS NIGHT. It was a consistent, weekly time of male bonding, pool playing, dart throwing, card shuffling, tipping back a few and talking. These men needed   these things. Holy people are always sitting around talking about Men’s Prayer Groups, and stuff like that, and that is important too, but just like   women need to sit and drink coffee and knit or sew, men need to do something in order to have the space to open up and talk. If you have the pleasure of being married, do me a favor and kick your husband out the door once every couple of weeks with his friends. Men need fun, too. They need to recharge their batteries and feel a sense of acceptance. A sense that they are OK and doing good. Men need men. I feel badly about the times I guilt tripped my husband when he stayed out too late with Mike. Those times allowed him to know Mike. If he hadn’t spent those evenings out knocking pool balls around, gobbling down nachos and talking with him, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity just recently to hear Mike tell him he loved him. One of those late night, pour out your heart, should be asleep, I LOVE YOU MAN….WE GOTTA   HANG OUT MORE!………. 4am talks that you never forget.
When Abel called me and told me Mike was  gone, I didn’t really believe it, thought I had too much coffee and was hearing things… Mike was the most alive person, I was so sure I would see him  again…..another moment would pass and I could look out my kitchen window and  see him walking down my driveway…. smoke circling his head……menthol square  hanging from his lips..…smiling ear to ear……..kids hollering “ Mike, Mike, Mike” and he would roll a soccer ball up on his foot and start juggling….just like his dad taught me…….. It just doesn’t seem possible.
Oh Lord, help me to be more like Mike. Help   me to be more comfortable with who I am, and able to set aside my fears and   really just LIVE. Give me a heart like Mike’s heart, free and open, and   loving. Help me to always remember the kindness of this dear friend. And   ever-hopeful and assured because I know it’s true, let me see him again.   Amen.

2 Comments on “Michael row my boat with you…..

  1. Beautifully said, Jenny. I haven’t seen many of you for such a long time, but my thoughts are with you, Anna most of all, often.

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