The Tree of Life: Remembering my Friend, Mitch Mitchell: Reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Earlier today, I delivered a brief electronic eulogy at his funeral.
Death is not a respecter of persons. It comes for us all. Sooner or later, we will die. Of this we can be sure. Mitch Mitchell was not unaware of this fact. In fact, he embraced it. Every day, he treated each encounter as if it might be his last. Unafraid to love, Mitch recklessly embraced those that society shunned. Mitch believed that all people matter and that is what set him apart. We would do well to follow his lead.
The Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood
Theologian and Activist
Such words feel like bullshit in comparison to the friend that I have lost.
I struggle to discuss the loved ones that I have lost. Sometimes, I just don’t see the point of all of the compounding. You see…pain discussed is often pain exponentially more visceral. Regardless, I know that I must discuss.
God has died once more. I’m not talking about the image of God. I’m talking about the very presence of God. I’m talking about love. I’m talking about oxygen. I’m talking about the very essence of our survival. I’m not well. I can’t breath.
The mind is a horrible place to hold the departed. There is no resolution there. Death is too final for that. Despite my best efforts, Mitch has run circles around my mind for days. The night I met him under the bridge. The morning we prayed together. The day he called to warn me about threats to my life. The midnight that he called to make sure I was still alive after the shooting. The afternoon that he encouraged me to hold on. The interviews. The conversations. The messages. I couldn’t let them go. I couldn’t shake them. I was just overcome.
Due to the limitations of finances and distance, I was unable to get to the funeral. Instead, I decided to take a hike on the side of the mountain we now call home. In the midst of unsteady terrain, I began to think about my friend. Something began to draw me to a place that I’d never been. When I arrived at the top of a ridge, a huge tree greeted me. I was invited into a relationship. The closer I drew…the more I could feel my friend Mitch. After some moments to try to figure out what was going on, I looked up to see a dark hole. One of the main pieces of the tree had fallen off. Instantly, I thought about Mitch’s death. Then, I looked up. The tree shot up into the sky…as far as mine eyes could see. That place of darkness did not keep it from growth…did not keep it from majesty…did not keep it from the light. In the secrets of that place, I will keep you my friend. I promise to visit you often.