Memorials are an intriguing mix of extraordinary memories and poignant absences. Sweet surprises at what had been and sadness at what can no longer be.
We were finally able to celebrate my friend Steve Douglass’ life and legacy, an event attended by close to a thousand people and streamed live to many more around the world. People who’d known him in some capacity, as a friend, mentor, neighbor, and boss, as well as husband, father, and grandfather, heard how he’d lived with humility and integrity from all who spoke. He’d touched lives everywhere he went, whether in a large meeting or on a plane where he showed interest in everyone who sat next to him.
Pictures flashed continually during the service, and with each one, what was most recognizable was Steve’s smile. He was a man of hope and faith–and everyone could see it in his demeanor.
My daughter Heather was one who’d been asked to speak because Steve had been her soccer coach for six years–a man who had never played the game. But what made Steve so different from most coaches was his kindness toward the players and his consistency in encouraging them, even in times of correction.
Steve never stopped learning or quit being curious, about people and how to grow in his faith in Jesus. He allowed those he loved and worked with to live out their strengths, not restraining or trying to shape them to his way of thinking.
His life was defined by these verses.
“So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Lord Jesus wants.” Ephesians 5:15-17
Steve lived his life well because he lived it with purpose, passion, and intentionality. He cared about people, and his heart’s desire was to share his hope in Jesus with as many as he could. He longed for all he met to have a relationship with his Savior.
How many of us think about what we leave once we’re gone? Many don’t live thinking of more than this day. Everyone will pass; do we care about the impact our lives have made?
It’s not so much that we’re missed but if how we’ve lived has influenced others for good.
To be remembered after we’re gone is a gift.
To be remembered for the integrity and goodness of our lives–that’s what ending well is all about.