Some days Mikey is a doctor. Some days, a playwright. And though Mikey lives with a developmental disability, other times he is a yoga instructor, an actor, a pastor, or lead singer in a band that has kindly volunteered to play at my wedding.
This past March, Mikey was an activist when the state of Georgia was scheduled to put to death Kelly Gissendaner. Several of my friends and partners were trying their hardest to stop it. I walked up to the Capitol with Mikey and some other Frazer Center participants that dreary Monday morning. Mikey went around telling everyone we met that we were going to the Governor’s office to tell him to stop killing Kelly. That Kelly is a mother and we need to stop killing her.
Mikey stood in front of cameras and TV crews. He delivered boxes upon boxes of petitions to the Governor’s Office. Alongside ministers, students, and fellow protesters, Mikey used his voice in our political system much more than the average citizen ever does so. I turned around at one point to find him even preaching to the Georgia State Park Mascot, which is a gopher, about why he was at the Capitol that day. He said next time he went he would wear a suit to show folks he meant business.
We returned later that morning to Frazer and Mikey wrote his petition again and again on pieces of blank paper. Mikey believed simply and profoundly that life, any life, all life, is beautiful and that we have a responsibility to each other to honor that beauty.
Mikey asks me every day if I will do yoga with him, with no socks on, and with my eyes closed. He tells me that we can welcome the morning sun and warm up our hands. I hope we can all come together and welcome the morning sun. We can do that by choosing to offer spaces, in our organizations, in our churches, and in our hearts that welcome others and the gifts they bring.
We are given the chance to see each moment shared as a moment so holy it begs us to take off our socks. We can choose to warm up our hands and join together to make this world a place of meaning where every individual has a voice and is greeted warmly. We can welcome the sun.
To hold, give birth to, create, dust off, and usher hope. This is perhaps my deepest calling. To hope that Mikey will live in a world that has great expectations from such a great man, to hope he feels heard and valuable, to hope that we act from generosity and kindness, to hope that the noise is loud when all voices shout for justice.