You’re Welcome

The threads of our lives weave together to form a tapestry that is greater than the sum of the parts.  I’ve recently been reminded of that by Steven, a man who was once a lanky kid with a balance problem and bad knees in my California martial arts school back in the early 1990s.

I had started the school in 1988 to fulfill my passion to regain my martial art skills from a previous decade.  At the same time I was able to help a few people with some of the things they were struggling with.   I remember how Steven often came by my home with a couple of other boys from the class asking me to explain some particular move they had been practicing since the last class.  Any teacher loves enthusiasm in their students.  All three of those boys eventually grew to be young men wearing black belts before I left them to seek more of my own adventures on other assignments around the world.

I’ve been blessed enough to fill two lifetimes since then.

If you’re one of my regular readers, you’ve noticed that I’ve been slow to write another political column.

Sorry, but I was separated from my inspiration for a little while, long story, but I assure you that I intend to start posting them again.  I just needed a reminder about how important the things we do are to other people.  I just got this email, and I had to share it with you:

Mr. Sutherland:

 I am writing this e-mail on behalf of my late friend and student. Deputy Mike Thomas was a dear friend of mine and student for over 10 years. He passed away Sunday May 25, 2008 at 10:30 am due to injuries he sustained after being hit by a truck while on patrol April 26, 2008.  Many of the conversations that we had were about finding you so he could personally say “Thank You”. Without you taking the time to train me I would not have been able to pass that training and knowledge on to him. Tonight I realized when I stumbled across your website the other night it was not by luck. I now know in my heart it was Mike fulfilling his promise to me that together we would find you. So from the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of Mike, Thank You. Not just for training me, but for being a major part of my life.


As strong and as brave as Mike was, most of us know that none of us are guaranteed another day.  He chose to live not only a life of service but also a life of danger as a motorcycle officer.  At the young age of 26, he left us all too soon.

Everywhere we tread, we leave footprints.  I missed all opportunities on Earth to talk with Mike.  Mike is with Jesus now.  I’ve asked Jesus to tell Mike “you’re welcome” from me and to thank him both for his service to Bibb County, Georgia and for what he has done for me.  I am blessed that our lives touched each others through Steven.

My prayers go out to his family, friends and fellow officers during this difficult time.

It just, makes sense.

Link to Deputy Sheriff Michael Sean Thomas page at The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc

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