Godspeed, Wally—and Thanks

I lost a friend last week. I hadn’t seen or talked with Wally in almost twenty years. Still, I thought of him as a friend. When he died on the Fourth of July, Wally was 86 years young. I think he would have liked knowing that he would pass into Heaven on a patriotic holiday. Wally was a proud, Korean War veteran—plus an all-around good guy.

We met at the publishing company where we both worked. I was a young editor and Wally worked as the liaison between my department and the printing plant. For a while, his office was next to mine.

He was old enough to have been my dad, and he was wise. Wally had a gentle way of sharing his wisdom, especially with the younger people on staff. He listened. He expected us to grow in maturity: to be true to our word if we said we would do something, to respect the needs of others, and to be on time.

I learned from him not only about the publishing/printing industry, but also about life. I felt drawn to him as a father figure, and sometimes I confided in him when I went through hard times. Wally was a man of integrity and faith. He encouraged me to trust God.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought often about Wally and the things I learned from him. I understand now that when I was young I was not so wise, although I thought that I was. I’m careful now when working with young people to teach gently rather than spew knowledge like a know-it-all. I’m a more responsible older adult because of Wally: I do my best to be true to my word, to respect the needs of others, and to be on time. I can almost hear him saying to me, “Keep the faith. Trust God.” I’ve done that. With each passing year and every hurdle I’ve learned to trust God more.

There’s a little bit of God in everybody, and God was certainly working through Wally. I am who I am today, in part, because of him.

God brings people into our lives for a purpose and sometimes only for a season. It could be years before we find out what we’ve learned from those people, but we do learn from them. Sometimes the lessons create happy, cherished memories, like those I have of my friend, and sometimes the lessons are painful—

But we learn.

Near the end of his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul wrote:

I think that Wally might have said something similar if given the opportunity to share some wisdom near the end of his life.

Like Paul, Wally was:

a role model,

a good guy,


and a man of God.

Wally, you walked with me for a while on life’s journey.
Godspeed now—and thanks.


Do you have a “Wally” in your life? What lessons have you learned?


If you are on Facebook, check out my page where I post daily articles and inspiration for writers. And while you’re there, I’d appreciate it if you’ll click on the “like” button near the top of the page. Thanks!



*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.


1 Comment

Filed under friendship

One response to “Godspeed, Wally—and Thanks

  1. Cecelia Lester

    Jean: Yes, we all have a “Wally” in our lives. I have had several, One was a fine Christian lady who played the organ at a church my husband and I were in. She had wisdom and spoke kindly about many different things. She always made valuable contributions to discussions in Sunday school class. I know she is in heaven and is in that cloud of witnesses watching over ,me.

Share your thoughts with us.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s