Open Book
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in memorium

We were gathered to honor and remember the life of Steven, who was 61 years of age when he died December 10, 2019. Steven was the distant one in the family.

I met him through his sister. For me it was love at first sight. For her, it took about a year. Another year later we were dating, most weekends I drove a beat-up VW 100 miles from college to see her. I drove that car into the ground, literally. The engine blew up on the highway a few miles from her home. Her father offered to help me tear down the engine to investigate if it could be fixed, but I'd have to get my broken VW into his garage. How to transport a broken down car six miles when you have no money?
Steven volunteered.

Steven and I wove together several strands of clothesline cable, hooked it onto the back of a 1965 Buick Electra 225, tied it to the front of my VW, and away we went. However, I was ignorant to the physics that require the driver in the towed vehicle to use the brakes to maintain drag so as to prevent that vehicle from rear-ending the towing vehicle. To keep from being rear-ended, Steven was repeatedly compelled to roll through stop lights and stop signs. Fortunately, there was far less traffic in the 1970's.

Steven managed to avoid a collision. Getting out of that Buick Electra, he was obviously angry. Steven was known for his temper. But he only shook his head and laughed in relief, albeit derisively.

Throughout his life Steven insisted on being gruff and distant. Yet he had sympathy toward those in need: his teenage sister’s current boy friend, an abandoned dog, a homeless guy in San Francisco who got Steven’s hoodie right off his back, or people he met with no place to live.

In Steven’s home there was a guest room that over the years housed a steady stream of sketchy strangers. Every one of those lost souls is loved by God. People like you and me too seldom make room for them. Steven kept a room available for outcasts and the wounded. Steven afforded them a place where they might get back on their feet.

Steven died in the parking lot of a medical center. He was not there for medical care, he was there disputing a bill. Obviously, he didn’t expect to die that December day. Life is fleeting. It can end without warning, and often does.

Kalina Silverman launched
Big Talk to enhance meaningful conversations by nurturing respect for differences while focusing on what people have in common. One of the questions she recommends asks, “If you had just one day left to live, how would you spend that day?”

Common responses include being with family, getting to some special location, or just drinking in nature. If Steven had known December 10 was to be his final day, he would not have spent it disputing a bill.

How would you spend your final day on this earth?
Awake My Soul, a song by Mumford & Sons, repeats the refrain, “You were made to meet your Maker.” If today was your last day on this earth, would you spend it preparing to meet your Maker?

He will be your Judge. He offers to be your Savior. ~

Dan Nygaard