Last night, as I walked outside to harvest the tomatoes, a detective was at the gate to inform me that our neighbor and community member Mike Primeau had been found deceased in his room across the street. It was what they call an unattended death, so they are doing an investigation to determine how he passed.
As we begin to come to grips with this loss, I wanted to share with you who Mike was to us at JUSTembrace.
Mike was a prophet and a teacher. As a Native American, Mike educated us on the deep suffering of native people and graciously invested hours of conversation with so many – furthering the passion to defend the rights and visibility of the oppressed. Mike was brilliant and angry – yet always willing to engage in conversation around current human rights issues, sparking many to feel empowered and at the least more aware and able to engage the suffering of the unseen.
Please help us honor our friend and neighbor and leave a comment if you are one of those who was impacted through a conversation with Mike! What did he teach you? How were you made more aware through knowing Mike?
Mike was a gifted artist and visionary. He owned the vision of JUSTembrace, despite his deep distrust of Christianity. He had a real passion to help direct a video for JUSTembrace that we were in the process of starting plans for when he left us this Spring. Mike took numerous videos for us – including all of Melvin’s memorial – using his artistic eye to capture the beauty that he saw in the JUSTembrace community.
There were many times that Mike verbally affirmed seeing Jesus through JUSTembrace. He confessed to me that he watched us from his window that faced our house for years – trying to figure out what our agenda was. For a man who had a tremendous amount of anger and resentment towards followers of Jesus – his affirmation of seeing authentic Christianity lived out on this property was nothing but a movement of God’s grace. This is one message I had saved:
the small community you make for the lonely neighborhood peeps … has a poetic effect you don’t see, but make a difference that gives you many blessing you might not appreciate. because it unseen ya know?
I’m a little numb right now, but as the days and weeks pass, the truth of what Mike encountered in this community will bring deep comfort for our grief.
I cannot fathom the battles our neighbors have lived through and continue to survive each day. May we seek to live lives that are gentle and full of grace – providing restorative places where we can find mutual transformation as we wait for things to be fully set right one day.
Late this Spring Mike was offended at one of our gatherings and chose to sever his relationship with us. We gave him his space, hoping he’d have a change of heart and return – being reconciled to a community that loved him. Unfortunately we never got to see that happen.
All the more, we will honor the life of Mike in the best way we know how. If nothing can separate us from the love of Christ – then we have to purpose not to allow anything to separate us from Christ’s love displayed among us. I believe it is important for our neighbors to see us handle Mike’s death with dignity and honor – despite the fall out this Spring. I am praying that we are able to handle this is a prophetic way that will further drive home Christ’s unhindered love for us all.
Please pray for us all.