There are so many layers to Mitchell’s Journey … so many stories to share. 

I remember taking our young family to the family ranch in southern Utah. I had nicknamed it, “The Other Side of Narnia” because there was something magical about ranch’s relative isolation from the world. At first I used to get frustrated cell signals are spotty at best – most of the time I don’t get one. But then, in a moment of sanity, I realized what a blessing it is to be cut off from the rest of the mad world so I could focus on the things that truly mattered.

One summer afternoon, just before the sun was about to set, I found Mitch, tiny Wyatt and my step-father sitting on a bench by a pond talking as only grandparents and grandchildren know to do. My heart swelled with gratitude to see this good man love my children. There sat a man who didn’t raise me and had every reason to be about other things that day. For that seems to be the work of men … to be busy building, chasing or collecting things. Instead, he choose to stay with my boys and spend time with them. 

In 1931, William Lyon Phelps wrote, “The final test of a gentleman is his attitude toward children. I wonder if all men remember as vividly as I do [how] grown-up people treated us …” I thought of that statement as I watched Garth … I was so grateful to see this good man spend loving time with my boys. He wanted them to know they were important and loved. That he invested time was good, but he invested his love and attention and that was greater. There is a difference.

My mother and Garth drove to our home the night Mitch passed away. I remember them both entering my son’s room, long after the sky became dark. They sat reverently at the foot of my little boy’s bed and seemed to peer upon him with sorrow, reverence and compassion. I don’t know what crossed Garth’s mind that night. Perhaps he thought of his own son he lost a few years prior. A son he loved dearly and misses so. As I looked at my step-father peer upon my dying son, I remembered this photo and tender moment between him and Mitch. To this day, I don’t think Garth knows what this singular moment meant to my son and how often Mitch reflected on it. I will forever be grateful for this moment.

I am just like every man that ever was. I am flawed and sometimes unsure of myself – and perhaps I’m more transparent than I should be. But I believe what you get should be what you see. I am also prone to build, chase and collect things. Any more, I am trying to build my family, chase my children around the couch in laughter and collect moments that matter. For in the end, those are the things that last. Those are the things that shape tomorrow and protect our hearts from a deeper form of grief and sorrow. 

These are the moments that matter most. When I die and see my Father and Son, they won’t care about the cars I drove or the depth and size of my treasure trove. Instead, they’ll care more about things one cannot see … the love in my heart and whether I gave to others in need generously.

No matter how brilliant or carefully our lives are planned, if we don’t give mind to the little things, we will miss life’s magic moments. Best to catch these little moments ... catch them while you can. 

Note: Mitch loved fishing with all of his heart. This summer, Mitchell’s Journey is sponsoring an MDA Summer Camp activity named after our son. We want to help other young boys go fishing and make memories that matter. If you haven’t signed up for our Miles for Mitchell run, please do. This is the run that will help fund this activity and other things that matter.

Here’s the link to our charity run: