Our Calling

Two cream colored petunias and other flowers in the background.

There is something I haven’t told you.

While we were in Yellowstone, my son Michael called me. His best friend, MJ, had been killed by a drunk driver. Michael and Allie were devastated. Along with MJ’s wife and so many others.

I only met MJ once – when he married Michael and Allie last June. Which happened to be on MJ’s 40th birthday. Even though I met him only one time, Michael mentioned MJ almost every time we talked. What are you doing this weekend? MJ this or MJ that. Michael and MJ met at work, AT&T, and became great friends.

As soon as Michael told me this tragic news, I wanted to be with my son. It was an overwhelming and strong desire. There was nothing I could do to fix this pain, to shorten the path through grief, but I could be with him.

However, it wasn’t time to go yet. Michael and Allie were spending time with MJ’s wife and helping her with the immediate tasks.

We knew our days were limited in Yellowstone, so we tried to make the best of them, even with our heavy hearts. But once the service was scheduled, we made our plans and headed to Dallas. I had to be with my son.

The service for MJ was held on a Sunday. Allie read the timeless passage from Scripture’s Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. You know the passage. To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Romeo and Juliet Windmill
Copyright free Image
from commons.wikipedia.org

Michael gave a eulogy. He honored his friend with his tribute and his love. My heart was filled with sadness, but also filled with love and admiration for my son. To see the man that he has become is one of my life’s dearest treasures.

I noticed something else about Michael and Allie during these sad days. I saw their love for each other and how through this turbulent time, they leaned on each other.

They reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Romeo and Juliet Windmill sculpture in Taliesin. This windmill tower has two different shapes which support each other and actually grows stronger when the winds blow.

I learned more about MJ through his passing. I learned he focused on others, he was kind, funny and intelligent. He loved technology and sports. And I learned about a project he worked on at AT&T back in 2019.

“Our Calling” is a faith-based organization in Dallas which works to help the homeless in a number of ways. The organization has an app, named “OurCalling.” This app, initially developed for iPhone users, was meant to be a tool to assist those who were helping homeless people. A second version of the app was created for Android users, and this was when the app really took off.

According to Pastor Wayne Walker, founder of Our Calling, 70% of homeless people have a smart phone. The “OurCalling” app was a tool that they could use to find information on services for themselves. While the organization “Our Calling” is physically located in Dallas, use of the app quickly spread to other cities.

In 2019, OurCalling wanted to expand the app and allow it to be used nationally. Somehow, the Our Calling organization collaborated with AT&T to create a new version of the OurCalling app which could be used nationally. This is where MJ enters the picture.

MJ and his team worked to create the new version of OurCalling. The new version of the app was created in record time to great reviews. In March of this year, 140,000 people used the app to identify someone in need—every single day that month.

I rarely ask my readers to do anything. But today, I am asking you to honor a man, gone too soon, by spreading the word about the “OurCalling” app. Download it. Tell others about it. Use it. Keep the knowledge of it filed away in your brain for a time when needed. Inform the leaders in your church and/or community about this powerful resource.

I know our mayor here in St. Charles, Missouri is working on the issue of homelessness. I do not have any idea if the “OurCalling” app is used here. But, in order to spread the word, I have emailed the mayor.

Maybe a hungry person will get a meal. Maybe an addict will find a recovery program. Maybe a child will have some stability. Maybe someone will come in out of the cold. Maybe someone’s life will be a little better.

And maybe, knowing something good came out of all this tragedy, we can think of MJ and smile, knowing in some small way, we have honored his memory and his life.


For more information about the Our Calling organization, you can visit the website or listen to this interview of Wayne Walker, Director of Our Calling on this podcast episode from The Intelligent Community.


  1. After reading this post, I now understand the hurried drive to Texas. I am so sorry. This is heartbreaking. I will pray for the families. I will take a look at the Our Calling organization website. And I shall do my part to honor MJ. RIP

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mike. I appreciate your kind words. It is heartwarming to hear you will help honor MJ. This is why I wrote this post. Thank you for praying for the families. Prayer is very powerful, and I know it will help them.


  2. Thank you for being so candid in today’s post, Betty. This was such a difficult time for you and your family. You’ll never regret being there for your son. I’ll checked out the Our Calling App and see what I can do. We don’t have homeless people here where we live, but I know there will be many in our coming travels. My heartfelt condolences to all who were impacted by this senseless tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Terry. I did read the OurCalling app had been used in Canada. Somehow when it is used in a new place, the app gathers the information about resources in that area. I appreciate your efforts regarding OurCalling and your condolences. And I appreciate your friendship. I hope you have a good day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my gosh. So sorry to hear about the sudden loss of your son’s close friend. Sharing the information about the app to help the homeless seems like a wonderful way to honor him and do something helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jessica. I agree on the God winks. Also, when you wrote the post about “Showing Up”, that was right when we had decided to go to Dallas for the service. I think that was another God wink. Even though I knew it was the right decision and we had to go, it was affirming to read your post about “showing up” – because that is what we wanted to do for my son and his wife. Thank you for the continued prayers.


      • Oh my goodness. Love the timing. It’s like the church. Showing up is life changing for whoever is on the receiving end. I’m so happy that something I wrote, was affirming. That is a miracle in itself. Thank you for telling me that. I appreciate knowing that so much.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it was very sad. I debated quite a while about how and when to post about all this – and even if. But I wanted to honor MJ by telling others about the OurCalling app. And I also thought this is life. Stuff like this happens. Not every trip turns out like one thought it would, and maybe acknowledging that may somehow help others when they, too, are faced with difficult times. Thank you for checking out OurCalling and for the hugs. And yes, I am very proud of my son. He is a wonderful man.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a lovely post about your son and MJ and the work they did. I did look at the website; thank you for spreading the word. One of my colleagues founded a program for homeless here, and I will be sure to pass this information on to her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate you helping to spread the word. And just to be clear (which I wasn’t in the post), by the time MJ and his team worked on the app, my son was on a different team. So, he didn’t work on the app. Thank you for your kind comment, and I hope you have a good rest of the day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing with us about MJ. What a wonderful man. I hope and pray his work with OurCalling will be used to further reach people. Through tears for the pain his loss has caused, I will be spreading the information regarding the work he has done. My condolences to all who love MJ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Charla, for your kind and empathetic comment. I appreciate that you will help spread the information about OurCalling. MJ was very well loved, and your efforts will help honor the wonderful man he was.


    • You are exactly right about the lesson. Each and every day is precious. We need to make the most of our days and our time with those we love. Thank you for your comment and the big hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your son’s friend, MJ, left a legacy that benefits so many people. It is awesome that we never know the true impact of our daily endeavours. I’m sure MJ never suspected that the app he developed would benefit so many. He worked behind the scenes yet this app will be an honour to his work and his life. Blessings to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I learned a lot about MJ at the service, including many stories of his kindness and focus on others. How MJ spent time to coach a man, new in his position at work, who had to give a presentation and was very nervous about it. The service was a reminder of what a powerful impact we can have on others. And you are right – we may never know the true impact. Thank you for your kind words and blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. At times like these it’s hard to find the silver lining. That’s why mom’s drive from Wyoming to Dallas to be with their child. You’ve an inspiration, Betty, even during a very difficult time. Prayers for your son and daughter-in-law and the family of the man who died.

    Liked by 2 people

    • David, I had to be at the service, but hearing about MJ and his life was an inspiration to me. It was a reminder to be kind and to love others as best we can. We really don’t know or fully realize the impact we can have on others. Thank you for your prayers, David. Prayers are truly needed. I hope you have a good day.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A powerful post and beautiful words. As I read through it what came to mind was the poem “The Dash”. In essence on our headstones will be our date of birth and our date of death. Between the two is a dash, and as the poem makes so clear what’s really important is not the dates but how we live, and love, and how we spend our Dash. MJ truly lived “his Dash” to the fullest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Bill. You have mentioned “The Dash” before, and it is a very moving poem. I loved it when you mentioned it before, and I read again just now.. And you are right. From all I heard about MJ, he really did live “his Dash” to the fullest.


    • Thank you, Linda, for your prayers checking out the Our Calling app. I appreciate your kindness. I agree; it is hard not to be close when life gets hard. I am just glad we could arrange to be there. Hope you have a good week ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Betty I am so sorry for your son’s tragic loss. My youngest son lost his best friend several years ago so sadly I can relate to how hard that is. I had no idea your trip to Dallas was for such a sad occasion. I just got back from Dallas today for a joyous occasion – a wedding. Your idea of turning this tragedy into a welcome source for those most in need is a wonderful tribute to someone you barely knew but who was so special to your son. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your son’s family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • David, I am sorry for the loss of your youngest son’s best friend. You know all too well then the pain of seeing your child experience such a tragic loss. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. I know prayers will help. A loss such as this reminds me all too well that we need to care for our relationships and cherish those joyous occasions. I am glad you had such an occasion so recently. And I hope you have a good week ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

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