Steve enjoyed a visit yesterday with Debbie, our church's music minister and choir director. Steve was a choir member until December 2007, when symptoms prevented him from continuing. (His voice was changing because of the tumor we didn't yet know was a tumor.)
They chatted for more than an hour. I was in and out of the room, and when I was in the room, I was often working.
I did hear Steve talking to Debbie about priorities -- how it's important to realize life's priorities and to make adjustments while you can.
In one of Steve's roles with this current employer, he worked brutal hours. He'd leave Frisco around 5 a.m. many days to make a 6 a.m. meeting. He'd work all day and then attend a late afternoon meeting. He'd get home around 7 or 8 p.m.
On Wednesday nights, he'd get home even later, because he had choir practice. He would leave before anyone was awake and come home long after Cooper and Katie were asleep.
He doesn't regret that he was in choir. He loves music, loves the fellowship, loves being a part of worship.
He doesn't regret his job. He loves to work, loves to solve problems, loves to be around people helping children feel better.
He does wish he could have arranged Wednesdays differently. Maybe found a way to reschedule the early meeting or miss it some weeks. Or find a way to come home between work and choir practice.
There were some Sundays back then, I admit, when I would wish that Steve was sitting next to me, Cooper and Katie in the sanctuary, instead of sitting in the choir loft. He would often leave the house earlier than us, to arrive in time for practice or for the early service.
Many Sundays I was on my own to wrangle two children into church clothes and to corral them during services.
But when I would see Steve in that choir loft, singing with great enthusiasm, any frustration would just melt away. And my heart warmed every time tiny Katie would wave and say, "Hi, Daddy!" across the sanctuary -- even at the most inopportune times -- or Cooper would run up to the loft to give his Daddy a big hug after children's time.
Now the most difficult part of a church service for me is when the choir sings. I love their voices, but I can't help but miss seeing Steve in that friendly crowd, hearing his beautiful music.
I am wistful for those days when there were three of us in the pews and one of us in the choir.
I am thankful that Steve still has a voice -- weak and faltering as it is -- so that he can continue to share his stories, advice and his love for others.