Anna Mitchusson. The Woman. The Myth. The Legend.
After looking at this picture, you may be thinking, “Wow, I didn’t know she housed a foreign exchange student with a striking resemblance to a young Jeff Goldblum.” That’s actually my brother; the eldest (and favored). I’m calling your attention to this picture because I believe that from looking at it, you can gather information about this woman. Obviously, my father is not in this picture, and neither is my brothers’ (we don’t have the same father, which is unfortunate for this sunburn waiting to happen). That’s important because it already communicates something to us about who she is. I don’t point that out to dredge up the past, but to call to attention that life has happened to this woman, the worst of it, and, from these smiling faces, the best of it. How would I describe Anna Mitchusson to you all? Strong. I have personally seen and experienced some extreme hardships in life with this woman, and I can tell you all that she is not the same person I once knew. Isn’t it interesting how, through trials and hardships, we become stronger? It’s like James says about considering all trials as joy because it produces steadfastness; they grant us the opportunity to be planted firmer in what we believe. She’s been through a lot, and the beauty displayed by what she’s been through is the testament of what James is talking about. Like I said, she is not the same woman that I knew at a younger age, she’s better. She’s more disciplined and determined than ever to become stronger spiritually, mentally, and physically.
Alright, I know that intro was a little heavy. Let’s all just take a breath, and move on to some lighter material, shall we? When I was growing up, my mom was always the “cool mom”. I was never nervous about having friends over, or having her chaperone a field trip because I always knew that other kids would ditch their lame moms and hang out with us. She never held back and was always herself. On a field trip, a kid played a car driving game and wrecked, and she jokingly told him he better stop smoking crack. He was eleven. She was the kind of mom that took a serious interest in what you enjoyed. My brother performed in a lot of plays that she would volunteer for and sometimes also play in. Something that she pins on me as being “my fault” is her being a Falcons fan (because when you’re a Falcons fan, you have to blame someone for getting you into this roller coaster ride of emotions). But that’s what I mean, she really took an interest. She wasn’t a fan of the Falcons until I was, and didn’t just watch it because I did. Heck, I moved out without cable for time and relied on her to text me the scores. What other mom would try to beat Castlevania X on The Super Nintendo before you could, adopt listening to your favorite bands to the point that she became a bigger fan, or scream lyrics to Beatles Rock Band and make you play the drums for 2 hours? Only the most dedicated and coolest. Yeah, there’s no doubt that she was definitely the kind of parent that I hope to become.
But alas, she is slowly putting away her wild side (she hasn’t called out any eleven-year olds for crack use in at least 10 years) and has picked up some new hobbies. One of those hobbies that some of you know of is crocheting. It’s not knitting so don’t call it that. What you may not know, is that she just became a co-creator of a crocheting group in Senoia that might possibly meet at the Anchor. I can see some wild times happening at a few of those meetings. I’m thinking a heated debate on whether chartreuse is considered a yellow or a green that ends with mom saying everyone is on crack. While crocheting isn’t a hobby that I would personally pursue, it does have its benefits. Like how she’s knit…(cough) crocheted me and Jordan a snuggly blanket. I’m all for a hobby that ends with free gifts. Her other main hobby is something that she’s been doing for quite some time now. Exercising. She probably started around the time I entered the 10th grade, and she has yet to quit. She may have turned 55 and have hair that can acquire an unsolicited senior discount at the grocery store, but she can do an hour-long workout full of burpees and donkey kicks with the best of them. The only thing I can do longer than an hour is binge watch Netflix. But you know what they say, we all have our crosses to bear. It’s obvious to me that exercising has become more than just a hobby; it really has become a way of life. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been around her for less than 30 minutes and she hasn’t brought up a new workout that’s really been “kicking her butt” (her words). In all honesty, it wasn’t until we sat down to talk that I really started to appreciate what she’s been doing. It isn’t easy to stay motivated in doing difficult things by yourself. And while I know that her motivation is to be able to stay in shape so she can physically do anything she wants, like spending a whole day at Six Flags (I did say she was slowly putting away her wild side) the benefits have reached far outside the boundaries of just physical fitness. The discipline it takes to consistently come home every day after work, and immediately exercise takes hard work, but it also challenges how she thinks about her spiritual disciplines. Growing up, she was always the spiritual leader of the home. She consistently took me to church, and even was in a praise band. Oh, how I miss the Sisters In Grace days. But in the recent years, she has grown exponentially in her faith. I think she would say it’s because of a mixture of what has happened in her life, attending SovHope, and also these disciplines that she’s developed through exercising, helping her grow in spiritual discipline. She has committed numerous books of the Bible to memory, and is currently working on Colossians, so next time you see her, ask her to quote some of it. Watching her commitment to growing physically stronger and seeing the correlation to growing spiritually disciplined has challenged my perspective about my discipline and commitment.
To be quite honest, I’ve been dreading this one from the moment we started the Spotlight Blog series, and what better way to come back after some time off than with facing your biggest challenge. How was I to articulate Anna Mitchusson to you all without bias, separating the personal from factual, mother from fellow church member? It took me some time, but I realized that I didn’t need to worry about all of that because there is nothing to separate. In all actuality, most, if not all of you have experienced her the same way that I have. At the beginning I talked about how strong she is, but I think it is only fitting to end with her most important trait, caring. This is evident by the fact that some of you in the Sovhope early years referred to her as “Aunt Anna”, a name that was given to her in the beginning by her association with the Brewer family (being their actual Aunt), but it eventually turned into a feeling rather than a title. To some, she kinda was like the Aunt you never had. A little quirky; unashamed of who she is. She possibly embarrassed you by something she said. Am I talking from personal experience? Maybe. But in the recent years she’s taken on a new role at Sovhope, which is why I felt no need to separate my experiences from her as my mother from being a church member. You all have experienced much of her motherly instinct as I have. Making the coffee, cleaning the windows, sweeping the walkway, taking out the trash, she is working behind the scenes taking care of us by doing the menial tasks that if not done would surely be missed, just as she did in my home. She also greets everyone at the door with a smile and a warm embrace, as if welcoming you into her home as an honored guest on Thanksgiving (but unfortunately without the mashed potatoes). Her warmth and care projects to others what it’s going to be like worshiping with this family of believers, and that’s exactly it. No matter your relation to her, with subtle acts of service and a tremendous amount of care, she makes us all feel like family, like we’re home.