July 29, 2004

 To My Husband…

When the invariable waves of life came crashing in, Steve never felt they were too big to handle.  And the small pebbles that the waves swept to shore were never too small.  Great food.  Great wine.  Great family.  Great joy.  He embraced the romance of life and the rigors of life.  It was wine on the beach and battle in the foxholes.  He was fierce in competition, but gentle in nature.  Steve was the Keeper of our Castle:  the Warrior and the Winner.   

Steve was a man of gentle greatness.  Greatness is built upon the staples—an unrelenting mastery of the basics and faithfulness in the small things.  Steve was never too busy to read Makena a story every night, to faithfully prepare gourmet meals for his family, or to unselfishly volunteer to coach the girl’s sports teams in practice after practice.

Greatness is built upon Standards—holding to a strong code of ethics and living them.

Steve’s standards were high and his expectations of their attainment were just as high.  Like the strong oarsman, he spent his life pursuing mastery and skill.  Even if he wasn’t good at something, he would work at it until he was.  If there was a task he didn’t know how to do, he simply said, “If that is what is expected of me, I will become great at it.”  He shrank from nothing, was deterred by nothing, and quit at nothing. 

Steve stood tall and he also stood firm.   His standards were high and his values were deep.  He was a solid man—feet squarely planted on the firm foundation–solid stone–bedrock values–of charitableness, chivalry, and consistency. 

And finally, greatness is built upon Stature—the watermark that sets the indelible “reach point.”   Stature is measured by strength of character and strength of purpose.  The stature of a man is not what he has, but what he has given.  Steve lived to recognize the tireless harvest worker, to inspire the discouraged athlete, to embrace the meaningful cause.  He was a man of his word, a man of wisdom, and a man of watchfulness.

Like the revolving lighthouse beam, he habitually scanned life’s terrain, looking for opportunities to illuminate others’ contributions.  Steve often felt credited for harvests that, in actuality, included the efforts of many, many other people. John 4:35 was one of his favorite scriptures:  “Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” 

 Steve splashed selflessness, kindness and an inherent goodness on every encounter he had with others. He sought to encourage, inspire, and give.  Steve left large footprints in the sands of our lives.  Steve’s stature is measured by his investment in and influence on other people.  By conscious design, Steve chose a life whose flow was not inward-bound, but influence-bound—a presence that rippled into many lives for many years.

Steve was a man of gentle greatness.  Steve lived excellence.  May the Lord say to my husband, to Dad, to our friend, to Coach Patterson “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant.”

With all my love,