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Hey Everyone, meet Michael. This guys has more energy than most and chooses to experience life to the fullest. He’s funky, silly, and has a winning smile. He’s been a fixture here at Roots, but has recently taken a teaching job down in Texas. He made it back for our first waffle Saturday and we look forward to all his other future visits. We sat down and asked him a few questions.

Sum yourself up in two sentences

I am an authentic individual who loves people and their stories. And someone who is excited to see the story of Jesus play out his life and the people around him. That’s the kind of person I am.

What is one thing that has made you a stronger person?

I think it’s friendships. Friendships that have encouraged me to live a more bold and adventurous life and not let fear dictate decisions. So, still be fearful but don’t let that fear control. Yeah for sure, friendships that have encouraged me to be bolder and fearless.

Who or what inspires you?

My roommate Ryan Elders. He inspires me because people who don’t even consider failure something that limits them in doing things. People are fearless in chasing after their dreams and goals and hopes.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

I think I’m in that right now, I’m moving to Texas. I’ve lived in Grand Rapids my whole life. [Texas is big!] Texas is huge! I’m moving there for a job. It’s the biggest vocational and relational job I’ve taken. I’ve taken other risks that have changed my life besides that, but this is kind of an unknown risk. Other risks I’ve taken are not caring as much about what other people think. So the risk of being genuine and authentic. It for sure changed who I am and my life. It was a risk that lead to more big and dramatic risks after that.

Why did you choose your profession?

I chose teaching because I love kids. I feel like a child at heart. Kids are funny and I feel myself around them. That’s why I want to be a teacher and I love chemistry and biology – the subjects I will be teaching. I’m super passionate about the outdoors and I think it’s exciting. They explain everything around us, biology is everything! Teaching is kinda the combination of those two passions.

What is your favorite thing about Grand Rapids?

It is dumbly beautiful, dumbly beautiful. I lived in Colorado in for summers, been all over the world. Michigan is stupidly beautiful. The summer, the spring, and the fall for outdoor stuff this is where you need to be. Yeah, I think that’s my favorite. Secondly are the people; they’re so genuine. Just the community and friends. That’s my personal favorite thing. Good people.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

I think this is embarrassing. It was really embarrassing at the time. So when I got back from Colorado a couple summers ago I got coffee with this girl I wanted to exclusively hang out with, you know date; you know, exclusively see each other. I got back from this cool summer and I was like “Hey let’s get coffee or something!” And we got coffee and it was super fun, told some funny stories, thought she was into me and then she asked “Hey I’m going to this retreat thing. I need someone to watch my rabbit, could you do it?” I said “Absolutely I’ll watch your rabbit!”. I took her home, got the rabbit, brought it to my parents house. Then I had this YoungLife meeting that I had to go to and I was super late, so I left the house, went to the meeting. I got a call and I looked at my phone, I had like 300 texts and missed calls from my brother and I thought, oh shoot what happened!? [Are you exaggerating?] No it was really that many, he called and texted me for an hour and I just hadn’t looked at my phone. So when I saw them I quick, raced home and my brother met me in the driveway. He said, “Hey who’s rabbit was that?” And I was like, ooooh gosh! So my parents have two siberian huskies and when I left I forgot to close the door to my room. They broke through the metal cage and killed the rabbit within ten minutes of me having it. I had to call this girl the next day and tell her that I killed her pet rabbit and she cried on the phone. It was the worst. Yeah, it was horrible. I talked to her twice since then and that was like four years ago. It was so sad! All my friends told me that I should just buy another white rabbit, they all look the same. I thought about it, but I thought it would be better to be truthful and honest so I told her and maybe I should have bought her a rabbit. RIP Melvin.

What is your most bizarre talent?

I can juggle, I can play one song on the harmonica (Auld Lang Syne), but that’s not odd. You never really think about bizarre talents. I would say I’m a pretty vanilla talented person. Yeah I would say that, nothing too crazy comes to mind right now. I can do the worm, I love dancing. I can do the slow grinder, the stank face, ya know. [Lot of laughter!] I’m a weird person, I’ll say it.

For the rest of your life, when you enter a room, what song would you have playing?

That’s such a good one. That’s a hard really hard one because, in my head, I go back and forth between a funny one or my favorite song ever. Drunken Love always comes to mind, when I walk in a room. Or, nah, it would be Taylor Swift, Out of the Woods. “Are we out of the woods yet? Are we out of the wood?”. Yeah, just because; T-Swift, love her.  

What is your favorite thing about Roots?

The people, the baristas, the windows, the outlets, the people.