Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Original Steve Part I

9:47 p.m. Today's project was to continue make preparations (buying food) for our celebration of Steve's birthday, which is tomorrow, May 23rd. Just the kids and I are going to have a hamburger cookout in memory of Steve here at home on Friday night, because we all know that hamburgers were his favorite food. Each of us will make a special gourmet burger in their dad's honor. (Mine will be a Western Bacon Cheeseburger with the homemade barbecue sauce that he loved).  We'll have Dreyer's vanilla ice cream with Heath Bar blondies for dessert. We even have the two kinds of buns he liked: whole wheat and toasted onion. The salt and vinegar potato chips are already in the house. Somebody better pick up a six-pack of Dr. Pepper  too!

Steve would have been 58 in earth years.In his new eternal life in heaven with Jesus, however, he has become a timeless being. I like to envision him, as I say to people, as "Original Steve."

"Original Steve" is the handsome, energetic, brilliant man I met in 1980 and married in 1981, when he was 27. Now that I think of it, "Original Steve" could be the man  he was at 37 or 47, active with his wife and kids, successfully employed, well-traveled, conversant in the public education issues that our life in public service entailed. He even put on a tux for the annual Junior League Ball, and wore his tailored black suit for other civic and semi-formal occasions! Yet he could generally be found fixing or fabricating things at work or at home. And a day doesn't go by, it seems, when I don't mention the nightly family devotions he led for our family to someone. Steve really set an example to our extended family, his children, and to the Christian community of being a godly father, a praying father, a servant-leader husband, and a man who served at church.

The Steve of the last 2 years and one day was not anyone we knew, not really, other than the normal physical appearance of a husband of a wife over 60 and grandfather of three boys. His shell looked normal up until the last year, when the wandering, blank eyes gave his mental emptiness away. Before that, the two of us would be at Ralphs grocery store and he'd get dirty looks for standing in the middle of an aisle rather than walking on the right side. When I'd quietly and gently guide Steve to hold onto the cart, I actually felt sorry for the rushed crabby shoppers when the realization of his condition stabbed them with guilt!.

Maybe it's best that we not scowl at anyone. Only God knows what is or is not happening in a stranger's brain.Psalm 139:2:

You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.

I am not sure how I will feel tomorrow.  But despite knowing there's an "Original Steve" in heaven rejoicing with everyone else who preceded him, and with Jesus Himself, I personally would like having him back here with me, his wife of 31 years, watching his grand kids grow, and welcoming our new little Desmond this month!

In all sincerity, though, Steve would say, and as Christians we can agree with' what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:23, that he'd rather with Christ, which is far better.

The two of us will be reunited, in terms of eternity, very soon!

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