Remembering Steve M.

Steve M. paintingOf all the people I have met in my life, few compare with Steve M.

I met Steve over 20 years ago, when they were doing a radio show, called RadioHope. Steve was in Phoenix, and I was living in Southern California at the time. We corresponded for years. At last I had found a kindred spirit.

God brings people into our lives for a purpose. Fundamentally, he transformed me and my ministry. I used to hang out with the metalhead crowd. As I got to know Steve, I discovered he had compassion for the outcasts of society: the punkers, goths, skaters, cutters, homeless, elderly. Anyone whom God put into his life.

Steve grew up in Arizona, but would spend time visiting a small town in Minnesota, where his family and my friend Cyndi now lives.

I never knew a lot of Steve’s past. But you could tell from his writings, especially poetry, (see Outcast Press ) that he was no stranger to pain, suffering, or brokenness. Complaining is definitely something that was NOT part of his essential nature. Reaching people with the gospel, was his goal. At the centre of his existence, you would find an Evangelist. One who well understood the human condition, and one who would take the time to build a genuine relation with someone.

If I had only two words to describe Steve, one would be hopeful. If you travel around Phoenix, Tucson, or any town that he visited, he did what he called an art installation. He infused hope wherever he went. He would bring healing art (Dia de los Muertos style) to the homeless. If you see the word “HOPE” on a fence or by way, you knew he had been there.
The other word that describes Steve, is humble. Steve was not ostentatious, and his only penchant in life, seemed to be sports du jour. He loved to watch a good game on TV with his family. Steve had the right balance between ministry and home. A value he passed on to his sons.

For me personally, he was the one who painted my new home. I was privileged to have him as a friend, a kindred spirit, and a fellow shadow dweller.

I will always remember his contentment in life, his dedication to God and his family, and his spirit, which made all men yearn for the Creator of the universe. See you in Heaven, old friend.

”When a man of God dies, nothing of God dies.”
— AW Tozer

Hope in Tucson, Az

“Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in our soul.

and sings the tune without words,
and never stops at all.”
– Emily Dickinson


Cranky Old Man

As some of you know, I will turn 60 in a few days. Someone sent this to me:

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!

(originally by Phyllis McCormack; adapted by Dave Griffith)

The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart!