Another Redwood Has Fallen

May 10, 2022

For years, I have quoted Abe Lincoln as saying, “You don’t measure a tree until it’s fallen.” (And then one day someone said, “Steve, I think Anne Morrow Lindbergh said that.” Oh well. I still like the concept.)

The idea is that our ultimate measure of influence can’t be known until we are gone, and the sprouts take root. Another generation of impact happens, in part, because of our seedlings of impact.

There is no truer example of that lately than the passing of two giants with whom I had friendships and life-altering, strategic intersections with over the last two or three decades. I wish we were sitting on the deck of my lake house and just telling stories the rest of the day. I could fill the afternoon with tales of how these two robust giants impacted me to my core.

Whether it was the magnificent days with our [email protected] magazine or times at Joe’s place in Carmel, California, or the numerous NFP board intersections with Peb trying to steer a kingdom enterprise toward its best version of the future, or just a quiet chat together catching up and sharing fishing pictures, or…

I think you get what I am saying.

These guys aren’t just trees in my life. They’re redwoods—giants. Redwoods are old (as much as 2,000 years old), tall (the tallest in the world is 350 feet), and strong (they’re fire-resistant with bark that’s sometimes a foot thick). But Joe and Peb weren’t redwoods because of age, height, or thick-headedness! These two were redwoods in my life because they were supporters and connectors.

Did you know redwoods stay standing because their shallow roots intertwine with the roots of the other redwood trees? They literally hold each other up. The trees grow in close proximity to each other so they can share nutrients and physically support each other. These guys helped hold me and many others up over the years. Many are different—better—because of Joe and Peb.

Strong as they are, redwoods do fall. And when they do, they create enormous sound and impact. Such as it was for Joe and Peb.

I am sad this week to think they are not journeying with us on this side. I miss my friends.

I am happy this week that they are truly enjoying the fulfillment of all our faith promises.

I am a better man, leader, friend, and follower of Jesus because of Joe and Peb.

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