Steve & the BIG EMBRACE
Posted on July 2nd, 2014

​Recently, we held a memorial service for Stev Kyser. Stev lived here for 17 years and even served as a shift director for several of those. We liked the good parts of Stev and the bad parts we believe are now redeemed in the BIG and ETERNAL embrace.
Toward the end, Stev was hurting pretty bad and his mood turned quite bitter and angry toward us. After a particularly hard day I poked my head in Stev’s room and asked, “Stev, are you still angry with me?” And after many gritty exchanges his reply knocked me off my feet, “No, Ryan, I’m not angry. Just sad.”

Wow! This was different. Stev went on to tell me how he was never able to say goodbye to his dad before he died and he expressed just how heavy this weighed on him. The shame and selfishness he experienced wasn’t easy to let go of.
I asked, “What would your dad say to you if he were sitting right here now?” Stev, replied, “He’d give me a big hug and tell me he loved me.”

The conversation went a little further but it sure seemed Jesus was hanging there in that little room reminding us of a very basic reality: We’re all struggling prodigals just longing for the embrace of the father.

As we grieved and celebrated at the memorial, I shared how I started to see Stev’s life like a parable. Maybe the life of this poor and simple man was God’s creative way of reminding Stev’s friends and caretakers that ALL of us are simply longing to feel complete in the BIG and ETERNAL embrace. 

Around here we keep plugging away at long-term redemptive relationships. What a gift to see even a sliver of that redemption through our friend, Stev.

It’s all grace,

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