Hanging Out with Walter

by Andy Wood on May 13, 2013

in Enlarging Your Capacity, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, LV Stories, Principle of Legacy, Turning Points, Words

smiley_bubbly_day_04Can’t believe it’s been a whole year, but I got to see Walter again yesterday. We took a little ride and shared a little fellowship. It was good to catch up.

Two years ago Walter was going through a severe depression.  He had been through a series of deep losses, including his job and health benefits. That’s tough enough for anybody, but at Walter’s age new careers don’t just grow on trees.  I really don’t know how old Walter is, but I’m 54 and he’s a good five-to-ten past that. I have to say, though, he makes it look good.

There is none of that suicidal darkness remaining that so gripped this man just a couple of years ago. And make no mistake about it – this was no bootstrap operation. Walter is joyfully explicit about Who gets the credit for raising him out of the pit. His life radiates with gratitude and joy, even when he’s all business.

Walter is especially excited because he and his wife are meeting their children and grandchildren in a few weeks.  They live thousands of miles apart, so any chance they get to be together is a special gift – especially when they get to see that beautiful grandson with the long curly red hair. Walter carries a picture of him in his front pocket, ready to share at a moment’s notice. And it was certainly a moment worth noticing.

The other big news is that Walter is starting a new ministry in his church. But first a little background. Walter has an extraordinary ability to memorize scripture.  “Just finished memorizing Revelation 21,” he said matter-of-factly.

“That’s awesome,” I said.

“Yeah, reading scripture about heaven is helpful, but when you memorize it, it makes it come alive… seem real,” said Walter. “And that book Heaven is Real?”

“Isn’t that amazing?” I chimed in.

“Perfectly lines up with Revelation 21,” Walter said.

But the really exciting news is that Walter is going to get to bring his love for hiding God’s word in his heart into the worship services at his church. He’s working on an idea to have a brief from-memory scripture time in the service. His hope is to pass along the inspiration for memorizing scripture to his congregation.

“You can’t make people want to memorize scripture,” he says. “Only the Holy Spirit can do that.  But maybe the Lord can use this to motivate some to want to.”

I told him I thought it was a wonderful idea.

“So do you mind if I share a prophetic verse with you?” Walter asked.

“Of course,” I replied.

 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.”

I was quiet, letting it soak in.

“Care to guess who said that?” Walter asked.

“Hmmm. Well, the temptation would be to say it’s in Revelation, but I’m going to guess Isaiah,” I said.

“You have answered well,” Walter said jokingly, as if I was Indiana Jones.

I was listening.  To Walter, sure, but deeper than that.  He said it was a verse of prophecy, so I was hearing accordingly, and wondering what the word was there for me.

“Do you mind if I share another one with you?” Walter wanted to know.

“Please,” I said.

Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

Again, I just listened.  To Walter.  To God.

“Have you ever heard of the cycle of victorious living?” Walter was saying.

“Guess not,” I replied.

“It’s from Psalm 34, verses 1-5.  Watch the verbs.  Trust… Dwell… Feed… Delight… Commit… then back to Trust.  That’s the cycle of victorious living.” Walter said he had heard that a long time ago from an old Nazarene preacher.

“That’s good stuff,” I said with a smile.

There was more. Like the time he talked to a Hindu man from India and asked him if he believed in heaven. When the man said yes, Walter asked him how he thought he would go there. The answer was something along the lines of being good to the elders in your family. Walter told him about Ravi Zacharias and encouraged him to listen to him on the radio.  ”He’s one of you,” he had said to the man teasingly.

We were just about to have to say good-bye.  Walter asked me, “Do you know the longest word in the dictionary?”

I actually know the answer to that question, but I played along.  ”What is it?” I asked.

“Smiles,” Walter said grinning.  ”Because between the first letter and the last is a mile.” Walter then gave me a couple of tracts with that question on it.  They talk about how Jesus can put a smile on my face.  ”Keep one and share one with somebody else,” Walter said cheerfully.

It was a sweet reunion. And the timing was just right.  It was Sunday, and I didn’t get to go to church yesterday. But I felt richly encouraged and taught from God’s word.

It was also Mother’s Day, and I didn’t have a mother to call anymore – just one to remember and miss. But in his own special way, Walter made me feel nurtured and not so alone.

What a gift, this friendship.

What a blessing, this fellowship.

And to think – all weekend I’d been mixing it up with an awesome bunch of scholarly types, exploring biblical and servant leadership.

And a 15-minute ride to the airport, hanging out with my favorite bell captain, put it all into perspective, with an exclamation point.

Talk about biblical!

Talk about servanthood!

Talk about leadership!

God be with you ‘till we meet again, Walter.  And we will meet again… Here… There… Or in the air.

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Martha Orlando May 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Walter is an amazing man and inspiration. Thank you for sharing this story with us!
Blessings, Andy!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..It Is THE Conversation

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