365 days ago mike yaconelli died in his truck near Yreka, CA. i remember it like it was yesterday. i had just had this intense, urgent need to call youth specialties to find out how they were fairing in the wild fires they were having last year. i can't remember the receptionist's name, but i can remember her voice.
she was in shock. i guess she had just gotten off the phone or had just been informed about mike's death. i think i was the first person she told. she said 'mike just died in a car accident'. i felt like i was in the twilight zone. no, i didn't want this information. i wanted to know you are all okay because of the fires. i felt like i had been punched in the stomach.
i asked if i could leave a message on karla's voice mail, and i stumbled through some lame words of hopeful comfort. i had just seen him, less than a month earlier - vibrant, healthier than he'd ever been. when i commented on how good he looked he told me it was because of his new exercise program - sex, and lots of it. how could he be gone?
i called liam and stumbled through the phone call between sobs. it was real finally when i had to verbalize it to him. that began such a surreal season of grief. how could i be so affected by someone i wasn't related to or even could call a personal friend? i felt guilty for feeling so lost, so angry, so confused. i realized as i processed all of this in the months to follow that mike was a mentor for liam and i. we had never had anyone in our life ever give us permission to fall madly in love with jesus and let him wreck our lives. permission to care for our souls, permission to laugh as part of worship, permission to be irreverently reverent. he was one of a kind.
i missed him at convention greatly. it wasn't the same without him. so for those of you who knew him, loved him and cherish him in your hearts still, i grieve with you today. the world is still somehow less wonderful without him here.
my tribute to yac.