Steve Jobs is not my messiah. There. I said it. I don’t own an iPhone or iPad. I can’t afford a MacBook Pro. I admit I do own a couple of iPods and the Apple/Nike running chip, which, by the way, was fun to buy, me being in the top physical condition I am. That being said, he was a snazzy dresser with his minimalist fashion, whose influence was broad and profound, whether you are a technophile or not. Since that is the case, I think it is worth thinking about a few things.
For the past few years Steve Jobs was, for all intents and purposes, the walking dead. So am I. So are you! We all suffer from the human condition. Death is inevitable; it is unavoidable. So it goes, as Billy Pilgrim said. Your attitude towards it can manifest in a variety of ways. You can do what most people do for the first 45-50 years of their lives and ignore it, ultimately leading to an unhealthy and expensive sudden realization of your mortality. You can fight it, kicking and screaming, where you do nothing but acquire sustenance from a juicer and run all day long. Or you can simply accept it. But what does that really mean?
We are surrounded by trivialities. Solomon would have called them meaningless, I suppose. Silliness on television. The worship of celebrities and products. An endless supply of games and apps for our smart phones. Yes, the birds are angry, and yes the pigs have those smug little grins, but do they really matter? Sure we all need distractions, and I enjoy being entertained like everybody, but everything in moderation. I doubt anyone has or will ever on their deathbed gloat about the glory of defeating level 4-8.
Steve Jobs said something very interesting during his Stanford commencement speech in 2005. This took place one year after he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
It’s always interesting to read the final words of a dying man. Even though this was over a half a decade before his death, he knew the light of the train would grow larger until the inevitable collision. He knew that death was coming, and rather than kicking and screaming, or dropping everything to live out his last years surrounded by his piles and piles of iCash, he graciously accepted his reality. He continued to push forward, innovating and contributing towards his vision until he was physically unable to work. He took the opportunity to filter out the meaninglessness and trivialities in his life, and realized that most of the superficial things we hold sacred in our lives hold us back from our potential. He fought the good fight.
Fighting the good fight is different for everyone. If your worldview says you claim Christ as Lord, that fight should include both loving God and loving people. I think all too often we let things get in the way of our own good fight. The little meaningless trivialities that melt away when we reach the end of all things. It makes me wonder if we would be better off filtering the rest of our lives through the eyes of a walking dead man.