HEARTSONGS: The Story of Matti Stepanek Will Knock Your Socks Off

HEARTSONGS: The Story of Matti Stepanek Will Knock Your Socks Off May 12, 2015

Requiem in Sea

Oh, to call the conch my home . . .
Stormy-smoothed tunnels of
Kaleidoscope walls spiraling into
Pearl-shimmered dyes,
Ever-changing with the light
Of the sun, of the moon,
Of the tide, and the gloaming,
And surging, and sighing,

Of the sea . . .
Of that space
That calls to me
Beyond the Polished Pier,
Beyond the now, and here.

Echo of ocean breath,
Silhouette of Light,
Indescribable description
Passing, mortal fathoming.
Passion, ebbing into solace,
Upon realizing the sanctum
Of our perpetual Home
Along the shores of paradise,
No longer a distant horizon.

Oh, to call the conch my home . . .
Such a lovely dwelling space
For the here, and the now.
Or perhaps,
A dove, an ark, a whelk, or
Any some-other lovely shell,
To be left on the shore
Like the hollows of driftwood
Or the gentle leavings of flower petal
When requiem passage calls.

–Mattie Stepanek, age 13

Today I write to tell you that you MUST read this book.

Jeni Stepanek, a mother who is herself afflicted with the genetic disease which took her four children, wrote Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs as a tribute to her beloved son, who died just before his fourteenth birthday.

Perhaps you saw Mattie on television during his all too brief fourteen years, or heard him speak or recite his poetry.

Mattie, and his three siblings before him, died of a rare disease called dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy. But Mattie Stepanek was more than a sick child. Mattie J.T. Stepanek was a bestselling author who publishing six collections of his Heartsongs poetry and one collection of peace essays that all became New York Times bestsellers and eventually sold more than 2 million copies. But his legacy lives strongest in his choice—his decision to celebrate life and perceive it as a blessing even during the most painful moments.

Oprah Winfrey called him “an inspiration”; Maya Angelou saw him as a kindred spirit and fellow poet; and Jimmy Carter described Mattie Stepanek as “the most remarkable person I have ever known.”

I’d like to add one more accolade: Mattie Stepanek is a saint. It is the miracle of this young boy’s cheerful holiness in the face of grave illness that stands out on the pages of this book.

Messenger is a story to make you laugh and make you cry, and then make you want to be somehow bigger, more alive, more fully present than you are today.

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  • Conni Knoblach

    I have often wondered if there would be an”official” push for cause of sainthood for mattie. He was wise beyond his years! His writing reflects a gentle and peaceful look at love and life. At a young age he helped catechize children younger than him. I do believe Mattie Stepanek IS a saint!