“Sometimes in our lives, tears are the lenses we need to see Jesus.”
~ Pope Francis
Several years ago, one of our longtime colleagues Mike Fullam was diagnosed with cancer. The team would agree that there is no one more in demand from dioceses and parishes than Mike. His pull is certainly based on his skill, but beyond that, a hard to find selflessness in today’s world, an unquestionable faith, and a understated chivalry that men aspire to and women appreciate the most. Upon receiving any compliment, Mike is known to quickly point to two sources for these admirable traits – his God and his Kate. And for those who know Kate, you know he’s not exaggerating. Tragically, as Mike’s health began to stabilize, Kate was diagnosed with a brain tumor. For two people so loved and so in love, the general consensus was “why would God allow this?” However this response was never Mike and Kate’s conclusion. As they cared for each other, they continued to care for others, sharing always how they were experiencing God’s grace, how they were enjoying their children and grandchildren, how they were so appreciative of every day that God gave them. Last week, the entire CLI community gathered for our annual team training at which we also honor those who have served this ministry for 10 years. This year was Mike’s 10th anniversary. Not able to be with us because of their health, we decided, rather than offer any silly stories or pithy remarks, the best way we could honor Mike was to pray for a miracle.
Kate passed away peacefully on Friday. Mike’s wife returned to God, surrounded by a family who gave thanks for a woman of faith who changed their lives. In addition to being sad for Mike, I was sad there was no miracle. Then I remembered why I asked for the miracle in the first place – because the world needs their witness of faith, of prayer, of gentleness. God did answer. In the most difficult of moments, Mike and Kate witnessed their faith in the most profound way possible and those of us who know them are closer to the Lord because of it.
I’m not sure who actually reads these emails every Monday. What I am sure of is that our brother Mike and his family not only need, but would appreciate our prayers as they lay their wife and mother to rest on Tuesday. Whenever you read this, wherever you read this, would you take a moment right now and pray for three things? – for the repose of the soul of this wonderful woman Kate, for comfort and strength for her heartbroken husband, Mike and his family, and for all of us to be models of faith like Mike and Kate.