Wednesday, June 29, 2011

One Man Who Made a Big Difference

We were sitting in the front living room late one night, talking about how difficult it is to do hard things - to stand apart from the crowd.
"What can one kid do, Mom? I'm just one kid."
I named a couple of other boys in my son's grade that would stand with him, despite the "crowd" moving in another direction.
"And just one man can make a difference," I added. "Look at Jackie Robinson. He and Branch Rickey - together they changed the face of baseball. Team up with a buddy or two, and you can change the direction of the majority."
I was reminded again this week of the power of one man as we observed Scott Walker's too-few earthly years. That by teaming up with his wife, with his family, and with others in his community, the powerful affect that just one man can make is astounding.

Scott Walker lived his life ministering to people around him, so I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that his memorial service this morning was more of the same. A stage simply lit with white candles, with an exquisite cross of white roses displayed front and center, very Janina-esque, pointing to who this service was really about.

As the first pastor stepped up to say a few words, Janina, Scott's wife of 38 years, stopped him by making her way from the front row to the podium, bowing her head, and singing a capella "Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place."

The large sanctuary brimmed with people touched by Scott's extravagant life. Corbin and I were honored to be there, to worship alongside Scott's family and close friends, and to soak in the way he loved people so well.The testimonies from co-workers, pastors, ministry leaders, and even college friends all pointed to the one thing that made Scott effective - his determination for following Jesus Christ. The stories, funny and serious, described a big man with a big heart who poured his energy, laughter, time and money into sharing Christ's love with people.

What touched Corbin and me the most, perhaps, were the emotional words from Scott's son-in-law. Several years ago, when JR married Scott's only (adorable!) daughter, Scott took him in, loved him well, taught him how to be a husband and father, how to be a man. We had dinner in the Walkers home one evening with Nina and JR as newlyweds, and the transformation that's taken place over the past few years in this young man is remarkable.  Last Saturday morning, through choked sobs, JR attempted to share how much Scott means to him. Scott took a risk in loving him well, a risk that will now multiply a spiritual legacy through generations. JR and Nina are expecting their first son, Arthur Scott, in just a couple of months. 

Corbin and I have long admired the Walkers, admired their hospitality, their laughter, their grandiose personalities, their passion for serving Christ. The Walkers are one of several couples here in Fort Worth that we've learned much from, couples who are a step or two ahead of us, whose marriages have weathered a few decades, and who know what's important and what's not important. Couples we want to emulate.

I kept thinking throughout Scott's service of all the men I wished were there. Men, our friends, who are still seeking their father's approval, putting off "spiritual things" because that stuff just gets lost behind work and family and socializing, men who haven't yet learned how to get outside of themselves and focus on the world at large through an eternal perspective. Those couple of hours celebrating Scott's life was more effective than a self-help book, a sermon, or a men's retreat.

One friend put it well, "Remember Scott, and remember why you remember him."

Lord, thank you for Scott's life, for his legacy, and for letting Corbin and me in on a tiny piece of his heart. We are touched by the greatness of his life, his love for you. 

Read more about Scott on these sites - Katherine  and Krista.
And thank you, Lana, for the stunning photo!