I was recently informed that one of my friends of over 10 years (Stephen Reed) just passed away in a terrible motorcycle accident yesterday afternoon. My heart and body are numb realizing today would have been his 30th birthday. I can’t help but think of how fragile and short life really is.
I remember the day I met him at a church conference early on in High School. He told me his story of growing up as a missionary kid in the Philippines, and at first, I thought he was joking as he was the tallest and skinniest blonde I’d ever seen. As the story went on, I remember thinking he surely was the coolest person I had ever met.
Although it’s been difficult to keep up over the years through different states/lives, I have always looked up to him as such an incredible person. Stephen was one of the most encouraging and positive people I have ever met, he was kind to every soul he came in contact with, he was one of the hardest working people I’ve known, he started multiple successful companies, continually traveled the world, and spread the love of Jesus everywhere he went through not only his words but also his actions (like stealing the parking ticket on MY car so he could pay for it).
As I’m sitting here in my bed trying to comprehend this all, it’s made me think a lot about life. I’ve been questioning how many things lately have I put off saying, “I’ll do it later” or “someday I’ll make that happen.” The reality is; we don’t know which breath will be our last. I think what Stephen has always spoken by his life example is that you should live every moment to it’s absolute fullest. Stephen lived more life in his (one day shy of) 30 years than most will ever live in a lifetime. He took risks most would never dare to, he faced his fears on a daily basis, he never took no for an answer, and he pursued everything that he did with 100% passion. His life may have been cut short, but it was a life VERY well lived.
A few months back Stephen and I did a photo shoot just for fun in Seattle. I was supposed to give him the pictures on my last trip to Seattle about a month ago, but our schedules never lined up. I was unfortunately never able to give him the images, but I am glad that I was able to capture his essence one last time.
So to Stephen, here they are, and you look dashing. I miss you terribly, we all do. Happy 30th Birthday, you’re still the coolest person I’ve ever met.
-Melissa J. Soule
For any friends and family of Stephen Reed that would like to download images from this photo shoot with him, here is the link: mjs.pixieset.com/StephenReed. There is a download button on the middle right side. Click on that, then enter any email and the password: 7445. There are two different albums for two sizings. One is sized for the web, and the other for larger prints. You all can feel free to use the images however you would like. Stay strong everyone.
Melissa J. Soule Photography