Friday, April 04, 2008

RIP Mike Weeks

Mike Weeks was the associate pastor of the church which provided the social fabric of my youth. From the ages of 13 through 18, he was also principal/director of the very small Christian school (and later homeschooling cooperative) at which I was a student. On Wednesday mornings (or was it every school morning?) Mike would lead a short chapel service before school began. We would say the Pledges of Allegiance to the American Flag, the Christian Flag, and the Bible. Then Mike would give us a short lesson, sometimes from the Bible, sometimes just a moral lesson of some sort.

I remember one of these mornings learning the word "deference", a character trait toward which Mike was encouraging us. He said if two of us got to the water fountain at the same time, we ought to each give way to the other, and then had two of us come forward and role play it: "You first!" "No, I insist, you first!".

He encouraged me and helped me complete my high school diploma. He was very supportive of my successful endeavor to memorize the Old Testament book of Proverbs. He and others arranged a big awards ceremony at the end of every school year to encourage the students. I was one of a smallish group--less than 20, I think, who graduated from Shorecrest Baptist Academy and Heritage Baptist Academy over the years. I knew Mike was definitely proud of me.

We called him "Brother Weeks". He required mutual respect between students and faculty and staff. "Sir" and "Ma'am" were the accepted forms of address. I don't remember him ever being unkind or out of control, although I imagine we must have sorely tempted his patience many times. He taught us "Failing to plan is planning to fail".

I think he probably worked inordinate numbers of hours in his jobs as associate pastor and school principal, in addition to his other job as a professional physical therapist. Looking back, I think Mike would have done just about anything to see me succeed. I do believe he loved me. I remember the tone of disappointment I heard in his voice when he heard a few years ago that I was working as an auto mechanic. I think he knew I was meant to be doing something that would somehow have more of an impact on the world. He didn't want me to settle for less than the best.

I never got to tell Mike thank you for all the work and love he invested in me. When I heard that he was so very sick, I tried to stop by because I wanted to tell him, but I had waited too long. By Sunday, he was so close to dying and was unable to even recognize me. I felt very sad about that. I'm really thankful for the blessing that Mike Weeks was to me. Thank you, Brother Weeks. You totally rocked. I wish I had taken the opportunity to get to know you as an adult.


Megs said...

A beautiful obituary, written by a person with a beautiful heart.
I love you Bens. I am so sorry for your loss. I believe your presence at Mike's deathbed spoke to him the love and thanks you are expressing here.

I love you. My sincere condolences to you.

Love Megs

gretta at lothlorien said...

A wonderful tribute to Mike, Benjamin.