The following letter was written this past November for a close friend of mine, Reverend T. M. Mackenzie. Part of a last minute school assignment, the letter is mostly composed of honest truths and appreciation, and is in no way meant to be an exemplary piece of literature. Sloppy at times, I admire this work because of its raw nature and unbridled leisure with the viewer’s reception of the concepts hitherto; Pastor Mackenzie is the recipient of this letter and his general ease of spirit led me to a general ease of writing. in this way the material within is a testament of thankfulness for all mentors and ministers alike. You have inspired myself and many others countless times with these same ideals!
Personal Letter to Reverend T. M. Mackenzie
It feels weird to call you that. Not because you aren’t my pastor- you are and you do an amazing job as such, but mostly because I’ve always known you first as Mac my friend, and then Mac my shepherd. For a long time now I have been meaning to write a letter like this thanking you for your hard work and devotion to our church and my life personally.
You are an astounding man. It’s no secret that our culture idolizes the physical embodiments of being skinny and fit. It is also no secret that those characteristics do not necessarily pertain to your figure. The thing is, you don’t care. You laugh at yourself, at your oddities and flaws, turning them to your advantage and allowing them to compliment your fantastical personality. It is to such a degree that I wish to uphold myself one day- to enjoy the same self confidence and liberating charisma that so resonates within your every action. You have given me the strength to believe that I truly am “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Aside from your personality and physical demeanor, I admire many other things about you as well- mostly your incredible will to follow God as he has called you to embrace others. If I had never met you, I would be missing a great friend indeed; a brother to whom I owe much gratitude. For despite the individual insignificance of each embrace, they’ve built upon each other with intensifying weightiness, and have culminated in a moment of joy and hope- something only executable by one with a true passion to love God’s people. I have not always been the greatest Christian, Mac. You and I both know the countless instances in which I was unable to overcome the depression of this world. As temptations rose, anxiety began to build, and being human, I faltered.
I didn’t want to get back up. But you helped me.
When we went to lunch over the summer, I was in a tough place. I had been working a lot, struggling to tell my parents about my depression issues (although I think I had text you about it much earlier than that), and going through a heart wrenching break up with one of my closest friends. I didn’t tell you all this of course, as I truly was (and still am) zealous to learn the ins and outs of being and becoming an ordained minister. Although we stayed away from my issues, your thoughtful consideration of my questions and purchase of my meal recultivated a buried seed of faith in me. (The food was quite amazing I might add!) You have exemplified in every action you take the very definition of love Paul describes in 1st Corinthians 13, and reminded me that “love is patient and kind”: a seed that is sometimes strangled by weeds, sometimes scorched by the sun, and sometimes planted in a field of fertility. The audacity to continue in loving patience is a true gift from the Holy Spirit bestowed upon you, and one you have executed faithfully and selflessly!
When I first met you I was nearly scared lifeless. A nervous, socially awkward middle schooler who was trying to find purpose in life by pretending to know what he was doing in a sound booth. I didn’t have many friends and had contemplated taking my life many times. I knew God; I was a very devout Christian, but I lacked the proper direction and motivation in my spirit. Your transition as Children’s Pastor at church was the first step to a needed encouragement in my life. Soon, things began to get better.
I remember your involvement with me at See You At The Pole my eighth grade year. The intense dramas we performed, the fiery speaking and repetitious songs I had made flyers for. I’ll never forget the last day of that week, that Friday, when over fifty students arrived around the flagpole before I could even get there. I’m constantly recalling the images of students releasing their struggles, crying into the arms of our pastoral staff and volunteers as they were prayed over at the end of service. It was in that moment that I knew I wanted to reach the broken and hurting no matter what the cost.
We had done it. Together. And we still are.
In the past ten months as Youth Pastor, you have played an immense role in so many young people’s lives. Your witty humor, quick-on-your-feet thinking, and transparent honesty, have elevated all of us to a new level of adoration for our Savior. By giving my generation the chance it deserves you have become an ever so influential part to this community, this church, and this heart.
For that I am thankful- to you and my God.
In love and dignity,