Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mattie Stepanek

My grandma called me the other day and asked if I saw the story of Mattie Stepanek on Good Morning America. I had remembered vaguely hearing about him but did not know his story.

Mattie Stepanek died at the age of 13 from a rare form of muscular dystrophy, dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy. Mitochondrial diseases fall under the umbrella of muscular dystrophies. His mother lost 3 of her children and then went on to develop the adult onset form of the disease and now spends her days in a wheelchair and on a ventilator. She did not know when she had children that she would pass this disease on to every one of them. Her story & Mattie's are incredibly inspiring. This little boy touched more lives in 13 years than you can even imagine! He had books on the New York times bestseller list and wrote a book with Jimmie Carter. He spoke about peace and hope.

When the moon sets
Over your shoulder
As the sun rises
Bright towards your face,
What's in the middle?
Your life is.
Filled with choices
For each moment, each place.
We live between the Past and the future,
In the moment of our
Here, now, today.
Can we cope with the
Daily life stresses?
If we humbly accept.
We must pray.
December, 2001
© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek
Used with permission from Hope Through Heartsongs, Hyperion, 2002

His mother recently did an interview for GMA and you can watch the two videos here. They really give you a good idea about Mattie's outlook on life and are incredibly inspiring:

On September 11th, 2001 Mattie wrote this poem:

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment.
Before anybody
Says or does anything.
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment.
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment.
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice.
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment.
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.
September 11, 2001
© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek

"Hope is real. Hope is an attitude and attitude is a choice." Mattie Stepanek


ben and erin said...

wow... that last poem was incredible. it gave me chills all over.

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