An iEulogy for Steve Jobs
By Rick Marschall – Monday Morning Music, CBN.com
As the world knows, Steve Jobs died recently. For many years to come, the assessments of his remarkable career will scroll down
the screens of our lives. In fact they will be innumerable as his inventions and innovations.
For he did not teach people how to speak, but taught how to communicate in new ways. And how to compose, to organize, to perceive,
to create, to share… to dream in new ways. He simultaneously enabled people to realize the existence of new horizons, and believe they
actually could reach them. And at the same time he developed of array of devices that drive people into “virtual” monastic cocoons.
Things he did in the tech world were not just innovations in concept or manufacture: they were seeds planted, sure to grow and grow…
perhaps even in ways that America ’s Dreamer-in-Chief would never have dreamed.
But another reason he will be written about with increasing avidity is the simple reason that, ultimately, very little was known during his
lifetime about his lifetime. He was very private, which is refreshing in this celebrity-addicted culture. What do we know of the man apart
from Apple, the iColossus catalog, Pixar?
It is reported that Jobs was adopted, and that his natural father, an immigrant from Syria named Abdulfattah Jandali, never was able to
receive responses from Jobs after reaching out by many letters and e-mails. Turning from the preceding to the following generation, Jobs
fathered an illegitimate daughter whose paternity he denied for years, even swearing in court that he was infertile. He eventually
acknowledged being his daughter’s father.
We know that he was a college drop-out. We know that he married Laurene Powell in a Buddhist ceremony at Yosemite . We know
that they had three children. Some people are drawn to the fact – in this economy such things have relevance – that Apple did not start
or subsist on government handouts and bailouts. We hear that he left at least four year’s worth of new ideas and agenda items as a part
of his legacy.
We also hear that he was a workplace monster, employed police-state tactics (on his staff, not the competition), and not only outsourced
from the US to China , but that Apple’s exclusive factories in China were disgraceful, overcrowded sweatshops.
Speaking personally – and I love everything in the App Store – two impressive things about Steve Jobs’ life (personal, not professional)
are that when he was fired from his own company in its “down” days, he persevered, believed in his visions – in himself – to the extent
that he not only roared back, but roared back at the helm of his own, former, company.
Further, at least from meager accounts, it seems that in nervous start-up days, periods of risky experimentation, good times, public
skepticism, several setbacks, triumphs, wild adulation, and harsh criticism… his wife and children always believed in him.
Sycophants, stockholders, nor investors cannot replace such a thing. Without it, a man fights insecurity, emotional emasculation, and
uncountable stumbling blocks in life. He was blessed in ways that were not apparent to the public. Perhaps it was that precious gift that
led to reports we have of Steve Jobs’ last days.
The writer Walter Isaacson was chosen by Jobs to write a biography, knowing his days were numbered. And from what that book will
tell, a priority of Jobs’ last weeks was to draw a few friends, but especially his wife and children, around his deathbed.
Isaacson quotes Jobs in his last meeting: “I wanted my kids to know me. I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know
why and to understand what I did.”
And a friend, Dr Dean Omish, quoted one of their last conversations to The New York Times: “Steve made choices. I asked him if he
was glad that he had kids, and he said, ‘It’s 10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever done’.”
Would billions of MAC users and iPhone, iPad, iTunes users (and on and on); would they exchange their toys and tools for the chance
that Steve Jobs could have been closer to his kids, that he could have “been there” more often? It is an artificial alternative: it’s not a
choice anyone has to make, but it sets us to thinking. It set him to thinking in his last hours. There were choices he made.
We come into the world naked, and we leave just about the same way. “Accomplishments” and resume aside, we just have our family
on one side of the line, and eternity on the other. I don’t know the state of Steve Jobs’ soul. If biographers and friends write 100 books,
I still would not know: that was between him and the Supreme Friend we can know, Jesus. Surely during his 56 years Steve Jobs had
that choice presented to him.
Neither do we know the answer to a question that ought to challenge us. When he said, “I want my kids to know me,” and having kids
was “10,000 times better than anything I’ve ever done,” were those the satisfied words of a man writing the codes of his last earthly
chapters? Or an anguished cry of a smart man who could program everything except his own peace?