Steve with our son, Jason, as a newborn
The past couple of years have been among the most difficult in recent memory, just as they have been for many families. Steve and I are both novelists navigating the dance between art and commerce. We are raising a first-grade son who has trouble sitting still at school. We work too much, and sometimes Date Night gets lost on the schedule.
Steve introduced major shifts in the fall of 2009, launching a business, gaining allies, always learning.
And in 2010…Steve brought it. He killed it. When disappointments reared, he shrugged and kept marching. Time and again, he was willing to reinvent himself to be up to whatever new task appeared, any new mountain that needed scaling.
It couldn’t have been easy. There were times I was in the fog of book deadlines, or teaching, or mothering, and didn’t always see how difficult a moment was for him. Sometimes he had to dress his own wounds.
Steve was a leader in 2010. He showed us something new. Gave us new light.
“Would you marry me again?” he asked me last night.
In a heartbeat, baby.
Just like we vowed at the Atlanta airport, holding hands the first weekend we met after the writer’s conference at Clark Atlanta University—“We can build an empire.”
Thank you for being a warrior.
This is an inspirational essay Steve posted on Facebook that will help you understand the man I am married to:
I am a warrior. I accept that life has challenges, that the road to success and mastery is strewn with the bodies of those who believed it would be easy, and did not prepare. I prepare. Every day I sharpen the sword of my mind, body, and heart.
I am a warrior. I know that fear is a constant companion for those who would live an authentic existence, free of comforting illusion. I make fear my friend, allowing it to empower me, to drive me toward my destiny. I put my love in front of me, my fear behind me, and run like hell.
I am a warrior. I take responsibility for my actions and emotions, for my destiny. I know that I am the only one who can bring my dreams into reality, and have organized my mind and emotions so that every action is in alignment with my most deeply held beliefs and values.
I am a warrior. I know that action creates emotion, and resolve to take effective action toward my goals every single day, without fail. However small, I will take at least one single step to clarify my mind, strengthen my body, and heal my heart. I break my long-term goals into bits I can accomplish one step at a time. Always, I remember that the Way is in training–in constant, conscious action.
I am a warrior. I have the honesty to know I cannot do it all alone, and form teams and tribes to help me reach my dreams. I know that my associations will limit or expand my accomplishments, and choose companions carefully. I know that somewhere out there my opponents and competitors are training, and commit to spending more focused quality time honing my skills than anyone who might ever stand between me and my intentions. My opponents have NO idea who they are dealing with. But soon, they will.
I am a warrior. I know that defeat is a natural part of the learning cycle, and commit to facing this small death with grace and calm–and to return to the fray as swiftly as possible. A warrior is not, as some mistakenly think, merely someone willing to die for what they believe in. That could also be said of a martyr. A warrior is willing to destroy in order to create or maintain. To match force with force, and fire with fire, if necessary, and without apology. And most especially, a warrior is willing to destroy his own ego, day after day, to make room for the best and most authentic essence of his true Self to emerge.
I am a warrior. I have faith that goes beyond that of common men and women. Faith in myself: my skills, heart, intellect and strength. Faith in my companions: mentors, comrades, health care professionals, career and financial advisors. My spouse, my family and friends. Faith in a caring, living universe that sustains me, in the God of my fathers, in something larger and more enduring than my transitory physical existence. I will never be limited by my own flaws and failings: I have more. I have faith.
I am a warrior. I confront my challenges and win. I’ll meet them head on if necessary, but never forget to be flexible and creative: I will go over, under, around and through. I’ll try new things. Try old things. Work harder, smarter, faster, better. Try early, try late. Give it everything I have, day after day when others have yielded to fatigue and doubt. And then I will work even harder. And I win. When I do, I am as gracious in victory as I was philosophical in defeat. Today’s opponent might well be tomorrow’s ally.
I am a warrior. I teach the world by example. Every step, every breath, every word, every action represents me. I behave at all times as if my most honored teachers and beloved friends know my heart and see my actions. I commit at all times to being my very best. I also know that every victory merely opens the door to the next level of action and challenge. Every ending is a new beginning. I also commit to teaching and sharing what I have learned, understanding that this is the only way the human race has progressed. I am a link in a chain of striving, caring, struggling human beings stretching back to the dawn of time, and forward to a brighter future.
Here and now, I vow to be the strongest link in that chain.
I will commit to nothing less.
I am a warrior.
(If you’d like to see more of what Steve has to say, check out his blog.)