I went to a friend's memorial service this afternoon. Steve was such a wonderful guy. Steve was a talented musician, playing piano, banjo and bagpipes. He loved telling jokes. A fan of ice cream, Steve held the Guinness world record for owning the most ice cream makers. Steve was diagnosed with cancer a few months before me. Unfortunately, it had gone to his liver and lungs by the time it was discovered. I was able to talk to him about issues I was dealing with myself. Both he and I knew that he was terminal and my prognosis was very good. He left me with the challenge to embrace life and not sit it out. His final gift:
A Note From Steve
No one has ever lived on this earth who appreciated the gift of life more, or has received more forgiveness, or more blessings from God than myself. I am deeply and eternally grateful for this. I have cherished life and have tried, in spite of my many failings, to walk with God every step of the way, as based on Micah 6:9, and along the way, I have learned to expect miracles and I have never been disappointed.
People have always been a big part of my life, and I celebrate the people who have been in my life, and who have honored me by allowing me to be part of their lives as well. I have truly enjoyed my career; which I have always viewed as a calling and mission from God. I can honestly say I have learned far more from my patients than I have ever taught them. Many of them have unkowingly helped heal me as much as I have helped them. As for friends and family, I don't have the words to express my gratitude for just having been in my life, because I've had the best friends and the best family a person could ever hope for. I love them all dearly, beyond description.
I face my death as I have faced much of life; it's just another adventure to be experienced. While I do not welcome it, I do not fear it. My pain is the pain for those I must leave behind.
I have always been moved by the fact that all through the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as sitting at the right hand of God. There is one exception to this, and that is at the death of the martyr Stephen, when Jesus is depicted as standing at the right hand of God. To me, this has always been an indication that the death of a believer, one of God's children, is a significant event to Jesus, so much so that he rises from the throne at the death of His faithful.
This service is not about me, it's about God and His mercy and blessings and the gift of life to be celebrated by all. The greatest praise to God is a life well-lived, forgiveness humbly accepted and joy and praise to God for unbelievable and countless blessings. I have had far more blessings than any reasonable person could ever hope to expect and for this I am humbly and eternally grateful.