I believe we are ever-evolving into who we're meant to be. I am constantly uncovering new parts of myself as I walk one day to the next and experience one thing after another. In our community, we recently lost a valuable friend, who really hit his stride late in life. Father Jon-Stephen, we miss you, and I am inspired by your story.
When we first moved to Santa Barbara over twenty years ago, Father Jon was an assistant pastor, and frankly, he wasn't that good at his job. He was unorganized, didn't like the day-to-day stuff of the church, and was often somewhere else when you wanted him. But a few years into the early 2000's Father Jon found his way. His love for the underserved blossomed as he began a homeless ministry, was ordained a chaplain, started working with the mental health services in our town, and joined a foot patrol. He had a poet's sensibility and a servant's heart--he saw beauty in each and every human--and released from his work behind a desk he sprouted like a young tree, spreading himself over so many who needed shade and prayers and covering. If you're fifty, or sixty, who knows what may come next for you. All of your first fifty years could have been the foundation work for a powerful relay race during your second half of life.
Father battled several ailments as he moved into his early 70's and, from my earthly perspective, we lost him too soon!
We mourn and joyfully celebrate the forty days after his passing today, and because were fortunate enough to witness his coming to life over these last twenty years I didn't want to miss this opportunity to write his name in print and share his giant grin.
Published: April 5, 2021 | Filed under: Near