(31 October 2003)

I lost a good friend yesterday--Mike Yaconelli, co-founder and owner of Youth Specialties, speaker, author, husband/father, and an inspiration to many. The following is a parable I wrote, borrowing from Mike's own writing about his grandson's first experience with snow (in his book Dangerous Wonder). While it does not remove the sadness and anger that I feel right now, it does make me smile and give me hope about what those who have gone before may have experienced, and what is to come for all of us.
— Christy Youngblood DeSisto

He unfastened his seatbelt, jumped out onto the platform, and pumped his fists into the air. "Woo-Hoo!! What a ride!"

He glanced around, then quickly stopped. Wonder filled the air.

His eyes stretched wide with astonishment, as though the only way to apprehend what he was seeing was for his eyes to become big enough to contain it all. He stood motionless, paralyzed. It was too much for a 2-year-old, too much for a 61-year-old, too much for an any-year-old. Just behind his large eyes you could see sparks flying from the crosscurrents of millions of electric stimuli overwhelming the circuit breakers of his previously small world. His mind was a confusion of strange, conflicting realities: white, cold, floating, flying, tingling, electric, landing, touching, sparkling, melting – causing an overload so great, so overwhelming, he fell backward – a slow-motion landing in the billowy whiteness.

He felt arms underneath his body, scooping him up and setting him on his feet. The hands that were under his arms immediately pulled him into an embrace. He opened his eyes once again, and over his rescuer's shoulder he could see the crowd who had gathered around. Excited whispers filled the air: "Yac's here!"

Just then, the arms that embraced him moved to cradle his face. It was at that moment that he realized he was standing face to face with the One he'd been dancing with for years. A huge smile grew across Jesus' face, and those present seemed to stop and hold their breath. With one hand still holding his face, Jesus thrust his other into the air in a fist and proclaimed...

"Woo-Hoo, Michael!! Welcome home!"