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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

An Even Harder Day

Micah Joel King

Micah Joel King fell asleep while in Jesus' care in the wee hours of Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at his home on the shores of East Lake Palestine. Born July 21, 1977 at Hughuley Memorial Hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas, Micah grew up in nearby Keene where he was a standout athlete, award winning actor and student leader at Keene Public Schools. He moved to the Tyler area with his parents in 1996 and worked his way through an associate degree in education at Tyler Junior College and was completing a degree in education at the University of Texas at Tyler.

At 6 feet 4 inches Micah literally stood head and shoulders above his peers, but he spent most of his time working much nearer to the earth - usually sitting on the floor in the center of a circle of children. He was a brilliant natural teacher and was much loved by the hundreds of children he cared for as a teacher and leader at Generations Together and the Boys & Girls Club. "Mr. Micah" could hardly go anywhere in the city without being spotted towering above the crowd by his kids who would shout "Mr. Micah" and run over demanding to be hugged. Micah never turned a child away and spent countless hours outside his work doing special things for "his kids", listening to their troubles on the phone or tirelessly planning special events and activities for them on his own time, evenings, weekends and holidays.

Micah served as an ordained deacon at the Tyler Seventh Day Adventist Church and went on mission trips to build churches and schools in Mexico. Friends described him as "big old teddy bear" with a large heart to match. Micah loved music, played bass and guitar and flute. He sang with his brother and sister, composed music and was a prolific artist leaving behind murals and fat sketchbooks with his caricatures and designs. He wrote poignant poetry in private, but in public he always found a way to make people laugh.

Micah is survived by his parents; Tom and Sheila King; brother, Matthew King; sister Meghan King; girlfriend Mindy Cornett; grandparents, Clara and Ralph DeLaune; and his beloved "kids", too many to count. Micah's family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Friday in the chapel of Stewart Family Funeral Home, 7525 Old Jacksonville Hwy., south Tyler 75703. A memorial service will be held 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 28, 2006 at the Tyler Seventh Day Adventist Church, 2935 SSE Loop 323 in Tyler. A reception dinner for family and friends will take place in the Family Life Center after the service. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Micah King Memorial Fund at any Southside Bank location.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Hard Day...

In the book of Job, a just man loses everything and complains to God about it. His friends, his wife and everyone around him believed he'd done something wrong. He didn't.

Job complains bitterly to God and asks him why all these bad things have happened to him.

He gets no answer. Eventually, he is restored to prosperity, but he never finds out why God allowed his children to die and his life to be destroyed.

Because we know the back story, however, we know that the whole thing wasn't about Job at all. God was proving a point with Satan. I'm sure it was an important point - hugely significant to the universe at large. But Job had to be content with God telling him "You wouldn't understand..."

After this week, I have some complaints I'd like to lodge with God.

Why, for instance, did not one, but two churches choose to close down Generations Together when but for a few days we might have survived and grown. Why did a church that barely knew we were even in their building, decide not to let us use the little room where for 7 years my wife Sheila has lovingly cared for dozens and dozens of seniors and kept them living at home with their families and loved ones?

I have to believe that, like in Job's case, the test may not have been about us this time. I really feel like we did everything we could have. We prayed. We tried to follow God's leading to the best of our ability. We all gave everything we had to find a new home for Generations Together. I don't know what we could have done any differently.

I have to believe that as time winds down to its end, God is testing His people - His churches. Maybe this time He was testing someone other than us when two separate groups of His people decided we should close our doors. GT isn't their problem - not their mission....

Generations Together was a blessing, not only to the seniors and children we served, but to their families and to the people that gave everything they had to keep it going. We saw miracles on miracles that kept us open 2 and 1/2 years longer than anyone thought we'd make it. We believed with every fiber of our being that He was guiding us and would take care of us.

Today, my wife and I had to look into the faces of our dear friends that depend on us to care for them every day and we had to tell them we are not going to be able to be there for them anymore. One 92 year old devout Christian woman asked, "You mean they won't let us come here anymore."

Yes, Lorece, that's exactly what happened. I can't tell you why, only that the world is a hard place outside the safe, loving cocoon that GT built around you all.

Those who came to us felt important when they were with us. They felt respected. They felt loved. They, in turn, blessed us too - prayed with and for us constantly.

I believe God places people who need help in our midst to make us better people. Helping them, in turn blesses us. The little elderly folks at GT blessed us so much.

"How can you stand to put us with us?" one lady asked one day as Sheila helped her clean up after an accident.

"It's no burden to me," she answered. "I love you...."

And that is God's truth too. I've never known anyone who loves elderly people more than Sheila. She poured her heart and soul into caring for them. She is an artist who paints with kindness, love, music, respect and patience. Generations was a brief and shining moment in this hard old world because of her. She was perfect for the job. She trained all her life to do it. It gave her joy to care for her people every day. She held up the families who struggled to cope with their loved ones' failing health, Alzheimer's and dementia. This town will be much the poorer because Sheila will not be there anymore to care for her seniors.

Certified retirement city indeed!

Sure, if you can afford to pay for assistend living or home health or if you really plan to spend a lot of time in hospitals, I suppose. And the nursing home is standing by for you when you get to where you can't be left home all day alone - if you can pay, that is.

Is it really all about money and that's all? Is God just a businessman and nothing more? Is the golden rule simply about who has the gold?

I do not understand why God let this happen. I'm sure He will explain it all to me some day, but that is small comfort. For now, what do I tell Miss Lorece?