Monday, June 6, 2011

Steve Malone

Steve Malone, maybe the most influential person I've ever known, a personal mentor and close friend to me since I was a teenager, passed away two weeks ago. Its hard to know what to say, but I wanted to re-post the words I shared at the vigil at melanie's house, the night before his funeral.

Steve Malone

I met steve when I was really just a boy. and ever since, he watched with me and waited with me. I have more memories than makes sense to relate. many nights up late, often with few words between either of us. I've always had a bit of angst in me. general discomfort and anxiety with the way things are, and steve patiently made space where nobody else ever had. he taught me how to be generous. he taught me how to rest, and to be, in the here and now. he taught me what things really cost. he taught me how to love women. he taught me how to be quiet. he taught me how important children really are. he taught me how to find hope when it seemed like there might not be any. he taught me the power of kindness, and an honest apology. he taught me how to not be afraid to let things go to their end, to let things unravel. and he taught me what true friendship really looks like, and how rare of a thing it really is. and along the way he gave me so many gifts. he gave me music. steve gave me his own faith. steve gave me his word. steve gave me the pursuit of beauty. steve gave me his unwavering support. steve gave me so much of his time. all of this, and I don't remember steve ever asking anything in return.

I remember a night out by a fire. it was thanksgiving, I was freaking out. and steve was with his family, tucked away comfortably and warm out in the alabama woods. he called me and told me I should come. and so that night I sat outside with this beautiful family and found rest. steve would say "I just want to be gathered up in love". and in all those little things, making coffee, making breakfast, making sure everyone was warm and taken care of, steve created so much space for so much love. it seemed he made space for everyone he met.

steve had integrity. and even when it cost him dearly, he never lost heart. he always meant what he said. he always held out hope.

to steve's brothers: I've heard so many stories. steve always seemed to know where you were and what you were going through. you know this, but it is just worth saying. steve loved you in the way that only a brother can, and you were always with him.

to steve's parents: steve talked of you often. he was so thankful for you. steve was always counseling various people and it seems pretty much everyone has issues with their parents, but steve used to say to me, "you know brian, my parents are good people. I only have gratitude and love for them" he said it in this sort of unbelieving way. like to say that he had such good parents, it just didn't seem right, few people got to have good parents. the two of you helped him become the beautiful man he was, and he always honored and loved you. he was always thankful for the life and the space and the love that you offered him.

to steve's children: some day I will find the words to tell you how much he loved you. you know this is true even without me saying it, but truly I have never known a father who had that much love for his children. your care was always on his mind. each of you carved a special place in his heart that no one could ever touch. and each of you offered him life and joy, in your own unique, beautiful way. he smiled when he spoke of you. his heart ached when your heart ached. he had more love for you than I ever saw a father capable of.

to melanie: steve loved you and fought for you the most. no question. you made him happier than I ever saw him. and you cared for him better than any of us ever could have. you spoke his language, you explored his heart, you held his hand, you nurtured his mind and his soul, you kept him close. you were his great gift.

steve loved his family. we are all here because we lost a good man. and we're here because we all share in the loss. steve and I used to talk about sorrow. how sometimes sorrow comes at you like a wave. like a slow river tide. and you feel like you’re drowning, or rowing against it, but really its just carrying you along. and sometimes sorrow comes at you like a knife. and it cuts you somewhere deep, and leaves you with wounds that you're sure will never heal.

we all carry heavy burdens. but at least for a few moments, with a song, with a poem, with a quiet breeze. with a gentle touch. we don't have to carry the sorrow alone.

as steve used to say, as only he could: all manner of things shall be well.

love and sorrow, hand in hand. rest and peace, my final prayer.

may we all be gathered up in love.

steve and melanie's blog