Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mattie Stepanek, Poet and Peacemaker

Tonight I watched Friday’s Oprah show with Jeni Stepanek, the mother of young Mattie J.T. Stepanek, poet, author, and peacemaker. Mattie died in June 2004, not long before his 14th birthday. Again seeing Mattie brought me tears but also smiles. I have always had a place in my heart for that kid with that warm smile and the twinkle in his eyes. I’ve always been so moved and inspired by the wisdom and love he possessed. If you do not know Mattie’s story, please visit his website and read about him. He came into life with such hardship and he lived with pain and yet he set that aside and lived with joy and hope, and dedicated his life to love and peace.

I have all of Mattie’s Heartsongs poetry books, and his book, Just Peace, A Message of Hope by Mattie J.T. Stepanek, with Jimmy Carter, Edited by Jennifer Smith Stepanek.

I also have Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs, written by Mattie’s mother, Jeni, and with a Foreword by Maya Angelou. This memoir gives readers intimate details about Mattie’s earliest years through his final days of life.

I believe former President Jimmy Carter said it best at the memorial for Mattie when he said, “since I left the White House, my wife and I have been to more than 120 nations. And we have known kings and queens, and we’ve known presidents and prime ministers, but the most extraordinary person whom I have ever known in my life is Mattie Stepanek.”

Although Jeni has the same disease her four children had, she is carrying on Mattie’s cause of peace in our world.

As Jeni’s book says, Mattie was a Messenger. He was an angel and while here on earth he deeply touched many of us. And I’m sure he is now carrying on his inspiration from the Other Side.

One of his last comments:

“Choose to inhale, don't breathe simply to exist." -Mattie J.T. Stepanek (1990-2004), Poet and Peacemaker

Read my review of Mattie’s book, Just Peace.


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