I really was quite sure I had exhausted my massive collection of pictures of Michael. After blogging for well over a year about him and his story, it didn’t seem possible that there were any more past pictures to share.
But then I found these gems. Hidden in files from over four years ago. And I wouldn’t say they were my best ones, but maybe ones that best shared about the heart of our relationship with Michael.
I won’t lie. In some ways, the sadness and grief I’ve felt over Michael’s accident has grown. And I’m not exactly sure why, though I think I have some reasons. One was made clear to me by a dear friend this past week. She shared that for many years, we really did spend a tremendous amount of time with Michael. Sure, he was one of our many youth group students, but more than that, he was one that was ALWAYS around.
What I loved so much about him was that like many kids, he would come around for the weekly meetings and for all of the fun things, but unlike many kids, he was always willing to show up to do the less than fun things, like painting the church basement. In September. When it was still hot and there was no air conditioning.
And I suppose in many ways, it is grieving that loss. Yes, Michael is very much still with us, but in many ways, I think we just continue to miss seeing him as much as we always did. We miss the way that he was a solid and firm part of our ministry and our lives.
As our lives have continued on, they’ve also gotten very busy in many ways. Looking at my calendar, my goal at times has just been to successfully make it through the day or week or month even. Church is busy, my photography business is busy and enjoying our own kids and the things they have going on makes everything full and busy as well. All that being said, we’ve done our best to continue to go and visit our friend Michael at rehab. The past few visits were on the weekend or in the evening where the pace at the rehab has been quieter and much slower.
But yesterday, Jeremy and I found time during the morning to drive up together to see Michael. When we got to the Rehab, we walked in to Michael’s room but quickly realized he wasn’t there. I figured he must be at his therapies, so we walked down the hall towards the big therapy room.
The therapy room has big windows so you can see everything going on. And it really was a pretty neat sight. Because there were so many residents there, doing various exercises with their therapists and something about it just made me feel much better. I think it was seeing so many people helping others that warmed my heart. We scanned the room, and when we found Michael, it was much to our surprise. Because in the far corner there he was, standing on a sort of therapy incline board. It was angled slightly back, but he was very much upright and standing.
And it almost made me cry. Because in the past year and three months, I’ve only seen him in his bed or wheelchair. And seeing him standing there he looked so very good. Now I can’t say for sure, but when we did get there it seemed as though maybe he saw us. I’m really hoping he did, because we waved and smiled and we were so proud of him. Michael had two therapists working with him so we stayed for awhile to watch them and him and it was really, truly a beautiful thing to see.
There are times in life that our struggles will weigh us down. There are times when we will hurt and cry for our loved ones, wondering how anything good will ever come from the most devastating of circumstances. But through these times, God encourages us to stand strong. In Ephesians 6, there are these incredible verses talking about the struggles that we will face in life. But then comes this idea of standing firm. Four times, it says to stand firm and at one point even says, “And having done everything, to stand.” Meaning when you’re reached your end and there is nothing left, instead of giving up, just stand. Of course all of this is done with God’s power and His strength because we know that at times we cannot do this life on our own.
Seeing Michael Einfeldt stand was a beautiful and heartwarming thing. Yes, dear friends, he continues to struggle. As we know, he indeed suffered a very severe brain injury. Yes, there are medical challenges and the future is very much unknown. And yes, he and his family continue to very much need our support and prayers. But yesterday, he was able to remind me so that I could remind us, the importance of standing firm. And this is something that was an encouragement to me and that I hope will be a great encouragement to you, no matter what it is that you face today.