276 N. El Camino Real, #184
Oceanside CA 92058


(760) 298-8146
(760) 216-1353








September 4, 2012

A little background will help. All the names here are being changed in the interests of personal privacy.

Some months ago, a number of us lost a friend in common. I will call him David - not his real name. David was a bright young man with an engaging curiosity and many caring friends. He also lacked concrete goals. After high school he hung around town for a year, then to his credit, enlisted in the Army out of a desire to serve his country. Predictably, maybe six months later, he was deployed to a combat zone where he served honorably. With time, he was back in the US, stationed half a continenent away from home. David had no physical injuries, but there turned out to be one injury we could not see. To my knowledge, he never discussed it with others although at least one other person had to have known.

Then several months ago, to a person, we were shocked to discovered that David had died overnight of an accidental drug overdose. This young man, so filled with promise, who deeply touched so many lives, was gone.

Yesterday, a close friend of David's I will call Rick (not his real name) posted this message to a Facebook page dedicated to David. The message ended in "Just a sign. That's all I need."

I decided to send him a sign.


Good morning, Rick,

The reason I wanted to contact you has to do with your post to David’s FB page yesterday. I know you and David were close. I think you and David were much closer than most. Buddies.

You wrote,

Brother things are so hard right now I'm really losing the will to try so hard I remember when I used to get like this u were there to pick me up an dust me off now there's nobody. Just a sign. That's all I need.

My thought for you is completely unsolicited, I know. And it may be my overreaction – I hope. I am just reading your words, “… so hard right now … I’m really losing the will to try … now there’s nobody … Just a sign that’s all I need.”

So I decided to be a sign for you – that you are important, you are loved, you are valued, you are needed, you are unique, you are part of the connective tissue in a large network of friends. If you and David (and a thousand others you aren’t even thinking about right now) are going to see each other in eternity. You will have, well, an eternity to do that. And up there, time will be irrelevant. (Who’s uses a calendar when eternity lasts forever? Do souls in heaven actually cross off September 1 and September 2 because time in eternity matters? In eternity, surely they can’t tell the difference between who arrived yesterday and who arrived a thousand years ago – since in heaven, time is irrelevant!)

That means what happens HERE while we are HERE is making the best of whatever lands in front of us HERE.

David was a good man who cared deeply about others. Anyone inside his circle has reason to be proud of having been inside. To not have learned something from his living example would be a shame. When David died, that was simply part of his dying example, not the living one. He was a good man, good friend, smart guy – who did something incredibly stupid in his last days.

Don’t we all agree to that? That one OD was the final bad decision, but not his only one. Every single time a person messes with a powerful narcotic, they roll the dice on stupid decisions because street narcotics don’t come in verified purity and dosage. Every single time – and this surely was not his first roll of the dice – the person takes a chance on death. Who among us, thinking clearer and better, would not reach out and stop him each time if we could have?

That verifies that David's decision was ultimately flawed at the moment, and also that decisions anyone makes to be less than we can be, is flawed. We all know what a devastating hole the loss of one person can make in the lives of others.

Again, Rick, this is unsolicited. I’m just bumping around in the dark. I’m only thinking that if in your words, “things are so hard right now, I’m really losing the will to try,” then you ought to be talking to someone – ANYONE more optimistic than you at this moment. Get a more optimistic point of view in front of your eyes. Celebrate David’s life, not his death, by picking up the ball where he dropped it and running it further down the field. You KNOW he would think that to be the only acceptable action. If the tables were turned, that’s what he would do.

BTW, I lost my son at the age of 19 to suicide. Things had been looking up for him. He was on a new string of successes to make anyone proud. But then in a course of just 3-4 days, the whole house of cards collapsed on him. Deep in his funk, he couldn’t see daylight. In his depression and despair without telling anyone, he shot himself in the head leaving a wake of pain that rippled over dozens and dozens of lives. He is forgiven for that, obviously, but the wake of pain is still there. In my case, it took seven years to say out loud in the presence of another person that my son was dead. The pain was quite literally unspeakable.

There are a hundred ways to step outside the circle of lives where the connective tissue like yours belongs. To any degree, just trying less, just acting less, just lowering our standards for doing our best, is enough. Words like “I am losing the will to try … you were there to pick me up and dust me off. Now there is nobody,” those words are killers because they support dumb decisions rather than celebrating wonderful lives and friendships like David’s.

When you feel down, the best and fastest way up is to do something for someone else, my friend. The Best is to do something good for strangers that for which they cannot pay you back. Their only choice is to pay it forward to someone else. That is a legacy – handed out a little here and a little there, creating a better world a good gesture at a time.

This is none of my business if you don’t want it to be, Rick. But you did ask for a sign. Here it is.

Wishing you the best in all things,

Steve Stewart Seminars | 276 N. El Camino Real #184 | Oceanside CA 92058 | 760-298-8146/Direct 760-216-1353/Cell |