Steven Irsheid lived a meaningful life. Twenty-nine years of finding and giving meaning.
Steven counted as friends and family, the MLA for St Albert, Marie Renaud, Rev. Mark MacKnight, Vice President of Vanguard College, pastors at North Pointe and a few dozen staff at Lo Se Ca in St Albert – a centre for adults with disabilities.
When I first heard the news of Steven’s death I was shocked, saddened, and numbed by my loss. I heard a common refrain in all my subsequent conversations about Steven:
Steven not only read the entire Bible, he graduated from Bible College. He never missed a Sunday in five years at his church, North Pointe, unless he was sick.
Steven had a passion for missionaries and experiencing a missions trip was on his bucket list.
He supported a child through Compassion International.
He cared a lot about people.
Steven had many pages of plans for his 30th birthday to be spent in Toronto.
He believed in the power of God and heaven.
Steven journaled, "Heaven is a place prepared for us, unlimited by physical properties. We will have new bodies. A truly wonderful experience of God’s presence. New emotions. No more death. Eternal life is so wonderful, it is beyond our imagination.”
He knows exactly what heaven is like now.
At Steven’s memorial, Rev. MacKnight reflected, "The last time I saw him was in the hallway of North Pointe on a Sunday morning, and saying ‘Hey Steven!’ He seemed to be a man on a mission that morning and I wish we had spoken longer.
My lasting impressions of Steven come from the consistent theme that would arise whenever we sat together. We would have conversations about life or about school. There were two predominant ideas that Steven would always talk about.
First, there was a passion to know and live to honor as he would say, ‘his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’
The second idea that he would express just about every time we met was his deep longing to develop and enjoy meaningful friendships and relationships. He would talk about Young Adults at North Pointe, events at Vanguard (especially if they involved food), exploring a variety of networks and connection points to develop friendships.
Two impulses…to be close to God and to be close to others.”
I am absolutely confident I will see Steven again in heaven.
And when I see him, I will know him. And he will know me. I’m not sure if he will call me “Pastor Bob” or just “Bob” but I am convinced he will ask me a question. Every one of our conversations started and ended with Steven’s question for me. One question always led to another and another and sometimes we circled back to the same question he had already asked just so he could be certain of the answer.
At Steven’s memorial service we shared one of his core beliefs.
“God says if you follow Him he will make your journey in life easier and you will be rewarded in your afterlife with eternal life.”
Life is not about the amount of days you live on this earth, it’s about what you fit into those days. A brief life is not an incomplete life.
And some disabilities are really grace in disguise.
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.
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North Pointe Blog