Tonight at 5:12 pm, Mitchell Mielnik passed away. I saw Mitchell around school a lot during his Freshman year; quite honestly, he was hard to miss with his height and warm smile. He exuded a positive energy. I did not meet him officially until the first day of my Senior year in Mr. Bruce’s 1st period Theatre class. On the second or third day of class, we had to participate in an introduction exercise. Mitchell stepped up to the front of our classroom. He was confident in an unusually humble way. He immediately began sharing with the class about his passion for hockey. As the year went on, he continued talking and laughing with his huge, contagious smile even when he was in pain after a hip injury. Mitchell sat in a chair directly to the right of my desk for a couple of weeks as he was healing on crutches. I never heard him complain. When I was narrowing my college search, Mitchell and I shared conversations about Sewanee; he referred to the Domain as “actually the best campus.” He loved it and had hopes of pursuing higher education there. I joked that if I went to Sewanee, I could be his tour guide because I would have 2 years’ experience before him. I am so sad I’ll never have that opportunity. I am sad that I won’t get to see him play for the Sewanee hockey team, or the Preds. When Mitchell got sick, we all started praying; people from all over the world were praying for him. His mom included us in his journey with their family through daily posts of updates on Caringbridge.com. She not only talked about her faith in the Lord, she lived it out. Today, upon his passing, I am reminded of James 4:14 and how precious this earthly life is: “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Mitchell made an impact with his life; he showed love. He “…fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). While I am disappointed and questioning why prayers for a miraculous healing weren’t answered, I do know that there is a plan that is bigger than any of us can see now. Mitchell is no longer in pain, and is in a better place. Mrs. Bates, one of Mitchell’s teachers and one of my mentors reiterated this: “People across the world have seen an amazing example of a strong woman, and family facing adversity who hold strong to their faith. We do not know the reason for this situation, but we must believe that God has a much bigger plan.” I can’t imagine how his family feels now, but Psalm 34:18 says “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” I am praying for the Mielnik family, I am praying for the Hume-Fogg Class of 2017, and I am praying for all of Mitch’s friends and teammates. Thank you, Mitchell, for living out a meaningful, memorable life.
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”-Revelations 14:13 (from a member of the HFA Class of 2017)