I have invited people to share their experiences of the effect or impact
Mitch's music has on their lives. This forum is not for concert reviews
which are covered at the Official Site Link
This moving story is by Robin. I was completely wowed by it.
Enjoy her candor, honesty, and openness as she express an utterly incredible
story. This article forum of sharing stories is open to other Mitch
McVicker music followers at this site. It's ideal for those who have
something to say and don't want or have a concert review to express
~ suzan ~
Story of Compassion that will melt your heart
~ by Robin
In a personal conversation, I asked a friend to tell me what it was that moved her to be a Mitch follower. After telling me she prefers the term "fan", she said, although she loves his music, it's probably his very life-and the fact that he could have so easily lost it-that drives her to support him. She explained by saying:
Well, I'll try to explain with a little more detail. As I said, I'd already seen Mitch with Rich a time or two before the accident. I really liked his music and his spirit and had gone up after shows to say hi, get autographs, pictures, etc. - you know, all those goofy kinds of things that fans do.
Naturally, when I heard about the accident, I was disturbed (and hurting so) for Rich's family and friends. I was also wishing I knew more about how Mitch was doing.
We didn't have Internet access, so I went to my neighbor's to use hers. She showed me how to do a search and I put "Mullins" in. The first valid thing I found was Danl's RMML (Rich Mullins Mailing List), and the first words that captured my attention were: "The unthinkable has happened... Rich has been called home to the Father. Here are the very brief details..."
The details were, indeed, brief - too brief for me, so I stayed and used the computer until I wore out my welcome (Haha). There just wasn't a whole lot of information about Mitch's condition. Over the course of the next couple weeks, I spent many hours at my friend's house.
It was then that I found Brian William's Calling Out Your Name page, got hooked on the Internet, and decided that, either I would have to move in with my friend and her family, or get my own Internet connection.
ANYWAY, (I think I've already got off track) as I was saying, I went to my neighbor's house with the accident on my mind. Another thing that was occupying my thoughts was that night's sermon. Our pastor had called for an "all church fast" the next day.
My heart was empty with thoughts of Rich, Mitch and their families. I wanted very badly to do something that would actually help - even though I knew in my heart that nothing could change what had happened or ease anyone's pain. I figured a card or simple prayer would be appreciated, but it wasn't enough for me. All of a sudden a thought occurred, "Maybe I could fast for them, too!" I figured I could make it two days. I'd fasted for three before. It shouldn't be a big deal. And, if it was, then I should just look at what they'd all been through.
But then I thought, "Wait a minute. Why fast for Rich? What is the purpose in THAT?" John's disciples asked Jesus, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast."
Rich's bridegroom had come. He was enjoying the feast. Yes, his family and friends were hurting (so was I), but at least they had the "pleasure" (if you can call it that) of knowing he was not suffering. I was greatly comforted by the knowledge that he was in the place we all want to be. No longer did he struggle with the infirmities that are housed in our human-ness. He was finally holy. The more I thought of Rich, the more jealous I became.
Then my thoughts turned. While Rich was whooping it up, Mitch lay there unconscious. The Bridegroom hadn't returned for him or for his loved ones yet. They didn't have that "peace." They were at unrest - wondering what was to come. I was at unrest, too, aching for them because they had no closure (I hate that word).
And Mitch himself? Was he fighting for his life? Or did he even care? Was he aware of anything? Or was he very keenly aware of everything? Was he in pain? Or, was he in some kind of intense unconscious "prayer communication" that gave him great peace - feeling no pain? Who had answers for these questions? No one, but God himself. (And possibly Mitch, but probably not.)
How does a person pray in this situation? And how does a person help? How, how, how? No one can ever truly say they know how another is feeling in a similar situation, but I believe it is helpful and right to say, "I have an IDEA how you're feeling, because I've experienced something kind of like that before."
My brother died in a car accident just before he was to graduate from high school. He was 17 years old. The driver (23) was an employee of my Dad's and was also killed. Their lives seemed to have been cut short. If there is such a thing as "breaks" in these situations, then one of those breaks was that both sets of parents were relieved by the fact that neither had to look at the other couple and say the dreaded words, "I'm so sorry your son didn't make it." when theirs had survived. Neither "blamed" the other for being able to "keep" their son. The pain was not magnified by any undue guilt on the part of innocent people. There was just a mutual emptiness, compassion and ache for one another.
Steve (the driver) was killed instantly, but Rick (my brother) lived until about three minutes before they got to the hospital. This realization was hard for my parents to handle. Somehow they had in their minds that if the ambulance had got there earlier, or if a different hospital had been called, then Rick would have made it. In searching for answers to many, many questions, the doctors told my parents that, had he lived, he would have been in a vegetative state for the remainder of his life.
Let me tell you, Rick was a LIVE WIRE. He was always up to something, continuously into some kind of trouble. Not REAL trouble, but the kind of kid who always has their parents guessing and jumping. They couldn't envision him lying there (seemingly unconscious) for years and years.
My parents raised me to believe that nothin' gets past God. WHATEVER happens is ultimately *approved* by Him. Satan's got a lot of power, but NO authority. We're given a lot of choices in this life, so we're free to do what we want. God will work with (and around, if need be) any decisions we make, but once we make 'em, they're ours. We have to be willing to live with them. And many, many times, we have to live with the choices that others have made, too.
We live in an imperfect world and my parents were experiencing one of its greatest heartaches. This was one of those times when death seemed to be the best of two evils. They knew, had he been dealt a different set of cards, there would have been purpose in it, and they would have learned to live with it. Whether we understand God's plan or not, there is ALWAYS purpose in what He allows (and a potential for greater glory) . It's just that for MY parents, even DEATH was easier to accept than the idea that their independent, strong-willed son would never be back to his typical shenanigans.
These are the things that ran through my mind as I walked along. I guess we always figure that every situation someone ELSE is in, is similar to the ones we've experienced. The thought never occurred to me that Mitch could come out of it and be okay. I WANTED that, but at the same time, I just KNEW if he came out of it, he'd never be the same again. And maybe in "never being the same," he'd be so much worse off. I wasn't thinking straight. I hadn't realized that Mitch's situation was MITCH'S situation, not Rick's.
I figured there were two options: death or a miserable life. Which should I pray for? Who am *I* to know what's best? I'd wanted to pray for him to come out of it and to be completely strong and healthy again, but I was scared to pray for the wrong thing. What if that was not God's will? God forbid me to ever pray the wrong thing. I didn't want to pray OUT of God's will. "How do you pray? How do you pray? What do you say?" And what could *I* do that would actually help him or his family. Probably nothing. Pain and emptiness like this has no earthly remedy. So, I decided I'd just send a card or letter and say a prayer leaving it in God's hands. But again. "Why? Why isn't this enough?" Aren't we humans goofy? WHY isn't prayer *enough* for us sometimes? I don't know, but I was beginning to believe that the answer was FASTING - even though I didn't quite understand the question.
I had the sermon about fasting on my mind. I believe strongly in the power of prayer, and in the One I pray to. But, I DON'T have a lot of confidence in my own "wisdom" (if you can call it that). People pray these very specific prayers. They get real detailed with God. They "storm the gates of heaven" with their requests. They say, "You must go boldly to the throne of God and make your requests known. Ask and ye shall receive. If you never ask, you'll never receive." And I say, "Yeah, you're right. I believe all of that. It's just that I'm not confident that my *requests* are gonna be the best thing for me. I'm not clear in my understanding. I see through a glass darkly. What if I pray stupid things out of ignorance? And then, what do I do if God honors my requests? I have to live with them. I'd rather pray very vaguely - something like, "...Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. I have NO idea what Your will is, so You just do it, and I'll try to live with it."
I was finally convinced that fasting had to be the answer. For some reason, it seemed *deeper* and more *comitted* than just a few shallow words rattled off in confusion and emptiness. I also felt less "ownership" in the outcome. It was more a *general attitude* of "Your will be done" than an "I want this to happen" kind of thing. I felt it was a more "pure" form of prayer - kind of a SOLUTION to the question: How should I pray? It kind of lifted the "figuring out" part of it off my shoulders. In that moment, it seemed that by fasting I would be relying on the Spirit to intervene FOR me, and I could be at peace with any outcome - knowing I had prayed within the will of God.
The two-day fast ended up lasting thirteen days. Once I started, for some reason I couldn't stop. I'd hear an update saying Mitch was doing a little better by the day, and it would give me more faith. I really began believing that I was getting to take a small part in his healing. You know how you'll pray to God *believing*, but then, when you actually get a sign that He heard, you're *surprised*? (WHY do we do that? Haha.) Anyway, periodically I'd get these little "signs" that made me think it was helping him. So, I didn't want to stop. I was learning what it meant to "pray expectantly."
I found myself actually "expecting" good reports - and being surprised when there was no progress. (Usually it's the other way around.) Steve and the kids would say, "When are you gonna stop?" They didn't really get it. Grandma would say, "You're still not eating?" I couldn't explain it to anyone - including myself. I just told Steve, "I KNOW I'll KNOW when it's time to stop. I'm not worrying about it, because I KNOW I'll KNOW." And I did. Thirteen days later, I KNEW it was time to stop. And that was that. Nothing more.
When I heard Mitch was gonna start touring again, I was so excited. I could hardly believe it! I mean, I believed that he was healing, but TOURING already? Wow! He would be coming to the same church in which I had last seen him and Rich. I couldn't wait to go.
As I paid closer attention to the plans of all the other "Rich-related people", I was encouraged to hear that they were gradually working through grief, sorting things out and pressing on. The past was the past, and any continuing efforts would not be a "trying to draw out Rich's life" attempt (or worse, capitalizing on peoples' emotions), but a genuine sensitivity and obedience to God's "new" direction. That sounded great to me. I was tired of "grieving," too, yet didn't want to see Rich's gifts laid to rest along with his bones.
Well, by the time Mitch came back to St. Louis, I was psyched - "mentally prepared" (at least I thought). But, guess what? I wasn't. When he did his Compassion speech, he said there was a video that was ALL ready to be played the last time he came with Rich - but for some reason, it never got played. They would be playing it in a few minutes. I know this sounds goofy, but I had mentally "put the past behind me" SO much that I must have thought Rich's *name* wouldn't even be mentioned (How silly of me!!!) When they started, I saw pictures of Rich playing on the playground, learning computers and singing with the kids at a reservation. It was hard to watch. Yet, I couldn't pull myself away. I was a mess by the time it was finished, so I headed for the bathroom to put myself back together.
In the lobby, there was a girl standing at a table. She noticed I was visibly upset and wanted to help. I told her I'd be okay and went on to the ladies room. After I gained composure and came back out, I felt I ought to explain myself so she wouldn't think I was rude. I told her I was excited about Mitch touring again and had heard that all those involved were putting the past behind them. I began to cry again and said, "I thought the past was the past. I thought this was about moving ON. I wasn't ready for something like that video." She introduced herself as Shelli. I thought she was Mitch's sister, but she corrected me and said she was his girlfriend. We talked a little more until Mitch started playing again, and then I went back to my seat.
I always wanted to do something special for her because she was there in the right place at the right time and really helped me in a moment of sadness. But, I didn't know how to reach her.
Speed up to about a year later. Steve and I went to see Mitch in Springfield, Illinois for our 15th anniversary (my suggestion, hehe). I had read that he would be doing a question and answer session during the Sunday School hour the day after the concert, so I was really looking forward to it.
During the concert, Steve began to feel bad. He ended up staying back at the motel instead of going to church with me the next morning. Our neighbors (the same ones we borrowed the Internet access from) were celebrating their anniversary as well, so they came with us to see Mitch. They wanted to go to a flea market on Sunday morning, so I asked them if they'd drop me off at church since Steve wasn't going. Well, after the service was over, I asked around about the question and answer session. No one knew anything about it.
While I was wandering around looking for something to do, I saw Michael (A.) in the kitchen getting coffee. I'd met him a couple times and hoped he'd remember me. He did. I told him I didn't have anywhere to go until church was over, so he invited me to the youth Sunday School class (where they would be talking to the kids). Shelli was there!
You probably know me enough to know that I talk a lot. I said a few things during Sunday School. After class was over, Shelli came and said she appreciated the things I shared. We had a really great conversation and I reminded her about how she'd helped me through the rough time at the other concert. She remembered it. I ended up telling her about the fast (something I DON'T tell many people).
The only reason I told HER is that I thought it would be an encouragement - plus, I had always wondered if anything significant had happened on the day I knew the fast was over. She seemed to think there may have been. We weren't sure of the exact dates though, because she was going from the date of the accident and I was going by the date I began fasting. She gave me her address, and I told her that I would check my calendar at home and then write to let her know the exact date I stopped fasting. (Just a side point: Housewife + Mother = ZERO "spare time").
Well, it took a while for me to get around to writing her - eight months! By then I wondered if she still had the same address, but thought I'd go ahead and write anyway. I included copies of my personal prayer notes. I also had a cute picture of her and Mitch that had been taken at a concert. I decided to get it put on a coffee mug as a thank you for her listening ear the night of the "video episode." At the last minute I decided not to send it though - just in case the address wasn't right. I'm glad I didn't send it because I never heard another thing from her. I don't know if she didn't get the notes or if they were just too weird. Oh well. No biggie.
The mug sat in my closet until the following October. One of the girls on the Ragamuffin List was going to be seeing Mitch around his birthday. She said the concert promoters asked the people who purchased tickets to bring a card to celebrate with him. She extended the invitation to the Ragalist. I asked her if she'd deliver my mug and she agreed. The next time I saw Mitch in concert, I asked if he got it. He did. I was happy. And that was that.
Although I love his music, I guess the MOST growth I've experienced from Mitch was when he was lying there unconscious. It didn't actually draw me closer to Mitch himself, but, through his "misfortunes," I drew closer to God and learned many things. Ever since then, I take fasting much more seriously than I had before. So, in a way, I have him to thank for it.
As far as I know, he doesn't know anything about it. He quite possibly could, yet he may have no idea. It doesn't really matter. All this was going on between God and I, but the accident is what prompted it. So, I guess that's why *I* feel a certain "closeness" to him. It's his LIFE that draws me to support him.
I STILL don't know why I took it all so personal and hard, I'll continue to support him as long as he's around to support -because he's my brother in the bond of Christ, and a constant reminder that God DOES hear and answer the cries of our hearts (even when we don't know what we're crying out for).
Robin: I found them! And as I looked back over them, I don't sound as weird as I figured I would have. Maybe I was more "in tune" than I thought, because none of what I wrote really surprised me. As I said, the "fasting prayer" was more of an "attitude of Your will be done", so it didn't surprise me to find out I didn't have a lot of questions/begging/pleadings to God.
What I found
was more of a "record" of what happened, how I was feeling and
most part, my memory served me pretty well, but a few things REALLY
Major Shock #1 - I didn't remember asking God, "Why?!!!" I generally
2) Later I made a comment that said, "I'm not asking why, God?" (But I did. Hehe.)
3) The overriding prayer I prayed for Mitch and his family was for "PEACE." I thought that was cool, because the first thing I thought of was that he signs his name with "Peace" or "Peace of Christ."
an entry says: "I called WCBW back to report news. I told the
D.J. I had been fasting. He asked me how I felt and I said,
"GREAT!" This news [he was still in ICU, but serious, not critical
condition] made me want to go another couple days. The words came
out of my mouth before I even thought about what I said. Did I just
make a commitment to fast until Friday night? But, tonight was the
night I'd be able to eat. I'd made it through my three days.
It didn't matter. I wasn't hungry anyway. I
On 11/24 - I have a note that says "ON FASTING" next to the Scripture,
email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
obtained from mitch for sound/picture files used