Steve Jobs’ Last Words: Thoughts on Love and Creativity
ABC News reported on October 31, 2011 that Steve Jobs’ sister Mona Simpson shared in her eulogy (for Apple’s late CEO) that his surprising final words on his deathbed were, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”
It is widely and well known that Steve Jobs was exceptionally creative and innovative; that he helped revolutionize the world and the entire computer industry. What some of us may not have known was how passionate he was, and how thoroughly he loved. Simpson put it this way, “Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods.”
Steve Jobs’ supreme virtue was love. Which is why his reported last words do not surprise me at all; exclaiming them as he “stared into the distance” past the shoulders of his deeply loved and loving family. Love and creativity go together, which is to say, the life force and the urge to create go together. When we are living fully, and in deep touch with our creative passion, we realize that we’ve been created to create; and we live our lives as loved and therefore loving beings.
In the Academy Award-winning, remarkably insightful and compelling movie, Ghost, Patrick Swayze shares a powerful truth. As he is being taken up into the Light, clearly amazed and filled with wonder, he tells his sweetheart, Demi Moore, that you take the love with you when you go. And having had two Near Death Experiences myself (where I would have loved to talk with Whoopi Goldberg), I can say with conviction that his assertion is true. And, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow” conveys the feeling I had as I experienced that living, pulsating presence of Light.
There is an absolutely delightful and wonderfully memorable CD entitled, THE BEATLES 1. It is a collection containing the Beatles’ 27 number one hit songs. From “Love me do,” to “The Long and winding road,” this is a delectable array of the magic and the music of four other creative giants. The eighteenth song on the CD is, “All you need is love.”
In the best-selling book, “Heaven is For Real,” by Todd Burpo, we find the remarkable and astounding account of his young son’s trip to heaven and back. Burpo wrestled with God for the return of his little boy. Interestingly, my first journey was also due to a ruptured appendix. I wanted to stay in the Light, but was told I needed to return because my work was not yet complete. And I have always taken great comfort in this passage from Luke 7, “…her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Or as it is written in the Hebrew Scriptures, Proverbs 10:12 states, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
Right after 9/11, I was asked to speak about the tragedy at a public gathering. Still reeling from the seemingly inconceivable events, my comments centered around the news reports of individuals on the planes who had called loved ones from their cell phones. By that time, the passengers knew what was happening. They knew they were facing certain death. Every reported conversation and message left on an answering machine was one of love. The callers didn't leave messages of fear or panic or regret. They expressed and conveyed their love. From that my hope was that their family and friends would be comforted; and that the rest of us would better understand the transcendent power of love.
In a similar way, I hope and trust that Jobs’ family is immensely comforted by his “oh wows,” and that all of us will continue to glean many insights from this remarkable man, his life and his legacy. The Apostle Paul has written in his First Letter to the Corinthians, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…”
I don’t know what Steve Jobs saw as he gazed beyond those immediately in front of him. Yet based on his high regard for love, his final exclamation, and my own experiences, I trust it was a radiant and wondrous sight.
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