The death of Steve Jobs is a big deal.
Actually, as I write that sentence, I am struck with the simple truth that the death of any person is a big deal. Each person is a universe. We often get so caught up in what is happening in our own lives, the hurts and struggles and fears; we often feel overwhelmed by the bigness of our own lives. We are so self-absorbed in fact that we don’t stop to realize that every stranger we pass on the sidewalk has the same bigness going on within their own universe.
So it is the knowledge of this fact that makes my first statement seem a little, I don’t know, overblown. Steve Jobs crossed the same threshold that all mankind crosses, and he crossed it and faced eternity with the exact same opportunities that every other man has had who has died before him. So I feel odd drawing attention to the death of someone I didn’t know. I’ve never spoken with him. I don’t know his family. The fact that Steve Jobs was alive yesterday morning and is not alive today, doesn’t even really change my day all that much.
Obviously, Steve Jobs was immensely important to his family. They don’t get to wake up today and go about their day as they always have. They are the ones who are suffering and mourning profoundly. Eventually their lives will start moving forward again, but they will always feel the loss of Steve, as a father and husband.
My day, however, starts only with a sense of melancholy (which is why I am writing anything at all); I am still just going to work and raise my kids and love my wife as I always do.
So why any melancholy at all?
As I said, I’ve never spoken with Steve Jobs, but he has spoken to me many times over the last 14 years or so. My professional life has always been connected with Mac hardware, and I have always looked forward to the next great thing. I’ve been watching “stevenotes” for many years, hearing Steve describe the new mac, or ipod, or iphone, or ipad. I don’t really get into the whole Hollywood celebrity thing at all, but Steve definitely was a celebrity, and based on all the times I have seen him, I feel a connection to him as a person. He has brought so many cool gadgets into my life, and he had such passion about doing it, that I can’t help but feel the loss. As a businessman he absolutely was a role model to me. He never accepted the status quo and he worked tirelessly to make life better through technology.
I don’t have any idea what Steve Jobs’s spiritual condition was, but I respect the work he did. The tools he helped create, and led his teams to create, have been used for decades around the world to do great work. Who knows how things will be now compared to what they would have been if he had lived another twenty years. We will never know that, and there really is no point in wondering. All we can do is thank God for the abilities that he gave to Steve Jobs, and for the work that he was able to do while here on earth, and for the work that we can do better because of it.