Steady On

And while I live my tongue shall always speak of my debt to you, and of my gratitude  Inferno XV: 86-87

God’s sovereignty is absolute (we must hope) but if Dave Winter hasn’t heard “Well done,” who can reasonably expect to hear those words? Is he surrounded by angels and clouds and harps? That’s too easy to dismiss as a moment of overly pious credulity. As part of the heavenly generosity, in which our rightly ordered earthly desires are fulfilled, Dave is more likely sitting at an endless plate of pork ribs slathered in drippy sauce while working with Peter on the ‘Pearly Gates Board of Trustees,’ offering stubbornly prudential thoughts on roles and responsibilities of board members.

The truth is, I don’t have any idea what heaven might be. But if time-bound hints and rumors hold any truth, there must lightness and light and song. Maybe wine. (Who knows?) Laughter too. Our long hope and promise from Isaiah is that “a bruised reed He will not break.” In heaven, the bruised reed – the blind eyes, the cancer-consumed body, the muscles weak with atrophy, the muddled mind – will be made whole again. It will be brought back to its original good-created intent before it was crushed by the darkness of this sometimes unforgiving world. Dave knew darkness of course, and yet:

Hear him, ye deaf,
his praise, ye dumb, your loosened tongues employ,
ye blind behold your Saviour come,
and leap ye lame for joy

How wonderful the ‘and yet’ at the time of death. Dave sees now. Dave always saw further than most of us anyway, even without physical sight.

But even as we hope, we don’t know. And Dave’s death leaves a gap in our lives that cannot be filled. No one I know can match his wisdom, prudence, experience, forbearance and just plain decency. “Steady on,” is what he taught me in word and deed. “Steady now. Stay the course” is how he lived and served. So we rightly mourn and carry on the best we can. But we know with absolute certainty, without a flicker of hesitation, that Dave would have us put our hand to the plow and work, work very hard, to do good things with the time we have, things that speak the wonderful story that God so loved the world, the whole world and every facet of it, and we should explore it and rejoice in it and make straight the path, with humility and good friends by our side. Dave would want that most of all.  Steady on now.

8 thoughts on “Steady On

  1. Beautifully written Steve. Dave was truly an influence on so many lives.
    We grieve at our loss and rejoice His entry to a world without pain. I hope he is getting answers to some of the questions we all discussed with him.
    Thanks for you reflections!! De&Ro

  2. Steve. I love your writing. Thank you for expressing your heart and words. Dave must have been an amazing man. We all need the privilege of people like that in our lives. How wonderful for you to have been impacted by him so significantly. A true gift! Big hug to you and your family in the days to come.

  3. Steve,

    This is a wonderful tribute! Just beautifully done, heartfelt, real and genuine, and wonderfully written. Thank you for saying these things. We have lost an incredible man, and without sugarcoating the resurrected future, you have incredibly captured our hope for glorious restoration with our dear Dave Winter. And yes, he is gloriously made whole again. He can see!

    Bless you, Steve,


    Philip W. Eaton, Ph.D.
    President Emeritus
    Seattle Pacific University

    Blog Address:

    Cell: 206 947 7739
    Twitter: @peaton2

  4. Thanks for the gift of prose that beautifully and poetically captures the man and his impact on us all. Well done Steve……

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