Reflections of a Friend
July 4 was a day to celebrate Independence Day. July 4 was also the day that I received some terrible news about the death of my friend Steve Jordan. Steve was struck from behind while he was riding his bike. Steve was not just a friend, he was a mentor to me when it came to cycling. He got me started in the sport. Steve went with me to pick out a road bike, provided me some gear to get started and spent hours on the roads with me teaching me about the sport of cycling. In a nutshell, he taught me everything that I know about cycling. I will never forget the time when Steve went with me to look at bikes over at Performance Bike. Steve knew many of the guys who worked there. As we arrived, he went over the all of the road bikes and he began to talk about the different features each one offered. One of the salesmen came over and immediately went down to the bikes that were way out of my price range. Steve quickly intervened and said to the guy, “Look, I know his wife and she will kill me if he comes home with a $2,000 bike and I don’t want that to happen, so you need to come back over here to these bikes.” That was Steve. He had this way with words.
On Friday, the family asked several people to come to the church for an interview with ABC 11. It was a chance for those in attendance to talk about the impact Steve had on their lives and what they will miss most about him. In all of the news stories about the accident, they mention the position that Steve held with the NC Department of Health and Human Services overseeing the state’s mental health program as the director. During the interview yesterday, you never heard one person talk about that job. They all talked about Steve, the person, the loving husband to Angela and father to Chandler, Spencer and Gabriel. The one thing that was shared by all in attendance that you will not see in the newscast is that Steve was a Christian who walked in obedience and lived out his faith in everything he did. Steve impacted so many in his lifetime and impacted them in a way that we can all look too for guidance in walking in obedience to the Lord.
Steve was active with the church and served in many areas at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church. He was the AWANA commander for several years and loved doing that. He made those kids and parents smile no matter what he was doing. When the AWANA Grand Prix rolled around, you could always count on Steve to make every kid there have a good time, whether he was trying to get them to do the countdown on the mic or talk about their cars. He also taught Sunday school, served as a trustee of the church and coached during the Upward basketball season. You knew when Steve’s team was practicing because before each and every practice, his kids would be running laps on the track at the church to warm up with Steve hounding them from below to make sure no one was slacking.
My good friend Jon Parks wrote a blog post reflecting on Steve as well. You see, Jon and I interacted with Steve in doing what he loved which was cycling. As I mentioned earlier, it was Steve who taught me everything I know about cycling. The same is true for Jon as he also taught him everything he knows. Steve took the time out his busy schedule to build a bike from scratch for Jon. That is just how Steve was. Always caring for others. It is those times on the road that I am going to miss the most. On every ride, he would provide me with tips on when to shift and how to attack the hills, the proper body position for maximizing speed and rules of the road. There is one time that I will never forget on a ride we did last July. Steve and I had just left the church parking lot heading north on Forestville Rd. We have crossed over Highway 401 heading towards Wake Forest. We were riding side-by-side when we heard a car approaching from behind. Steve told me to hold my line and we will let him pass. As the car come up along side us, the guy has his passenger side window down and decides that he wants to share his displeasure with us riding on the road impacting his driving. Steve and I never said a word to the guy as he was voicing his opinion. Once the guy finished, he speed off on his way. As soon as he left, Steve and I both look at each other and to break the silence Steve says to me, “that guy needs a hug.” I tell you, we laughed for the next mile. That day on the bike prompted me to write a blog post regarding the laws for cyclists and sharing the road.
While riding with Steve, we always had conversation about our faith and our walk with the Lord. We would talk about our families and what we are doing with our children. Growing up, I was a track & field athlete and Steve’s boys are involved in that sport. We would talk about the upcoming meets the boys had and how they were progressing in their events. We would share countless tips on ways they could improve. Through all of that, I realize it was not just Steve and I talking. This was Steve teaching me how to live a life of obedience, walking faithfully in all I do. In our conversations, he would always talk about when times were tough in a track meet for one of the boys, he would ask them if they have prayed. What a great reminder. We should continually pray no matter what the circumstance. We are all dependent on God at it is difficult times like this that we need to pray for His strength.
This tragedy has impacted many and the church family is hurting. Pastor Randy Mann wrote a blog post about “Responding to tragedy in light of the Gospel.” His post is serves as a great reminder to all of us regardless of the circumstance for reaching out and serving others.
I believe that the one thing Steve would want everyone reading this post to know comes from Romans 10:9, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” We live in a sin-tainted world and regardless of that, God loves us. It is because he loves us that he sent his son to live a sinless life and pay the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross. It did not stop with His death on the cross as He was buried and 3 days later was raised from the dead. The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:8, that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” At 2:15pm on Wednesday, July 4, Steve went home to be in the presence of the Lord and is rejoicing.