With his right foot pointed slightly inward, Mike schleps into the Sunday school class almost ten minutes after its scheduled start time incognizant of the fact that all of the class members were there early. This has come to be expected of him whenever he fills in for the regular discussion leader. A sheepish grin supports his thick brown moustache as he enters the room. Mike sees the world through brown eyes that are set deep in their sockets behind a nose that rivals that of W.C. Fields in size, although not quite as bulbous. Based on the wheezing as he breathes through the big apparatus, apparently it doesn’t serve him as well as one might expect. I sometimes get a sinus headache just listening to him fight for air, almost wanting to scream, “Breathe through your mouth already!”
“Sorry I’m late,” he precedes and follows with a lengthy oratory of the events that caused his late arrival. The fault usually lies with his wife or young daughter but clouds of doubt seem to hang over the heads of those who know him. Eyes and smiles dart between the students throughout his explanation. The dark circles around his eyes testify to a lack of sleep, and while not wanting to use clichés, in this case I must. The phrase ‘a day late and a dollar short’ is the best description I can find for his customary tardiness.
His irregular cut reddish brown hair is unkempt, looking as though he gave it no regard since getting out of bed that morning. It gives the impression that he woke up, slammed into his clothes, and departed from home without the benefit of a shower. Standing below his scruffy coiffure, Mike opens with a prayer and then turns our attention to the lesson at hand. He seems unprepared but his degree in Youth Ministries seems to have equipped him well for the occasion as his lessons are always insightful.
Mike often gives allusions to his financial straits, which makes it clear that he simply does not know how to manage his money well. All in all, he just seems like he’s totally disorganized. It seems a paradox that someone so completely disorganized and disheveled could lead a class of adult learners to such great spiritual insights as effectively as he does.
Members from the next class begin to line up outside the door as Mike trails on and on, almost as though he needs to assure his tardiness to whatever lies next on his schedule. Finally, after closing with another prayer, we file out of the room to meet the relieved eyes of those waiting to enter. Mike’s voice grows faint in the distance as I walk away from the class giving evidence to the fact that he will be the last one to leave. Last in, last out. No hurries.