The trouble with Walt

Walt needed us tonight. Needed us to come over right away.

Trouble is, I didn’t have time for Walt. I had stuff to do you see. I had reports to write and obligations to meet.

I wondered if I could get find somebody else to take care of him. Somebody who had less time than I did in the church.

But nobody answered the phone. So it would have to be the other Mike and I.

I barely pulled the van into the driveway when I could see him through the covered veranda, hunched over, stumbling his way out to meet us from his house.

He asked that we provide some spiritual comfort and we did so. Minutes later, I was ready to go. Because of my agenda. Because of my life on hold by this unexpected time at Walt’s house.

Walt pointed to the adjoining chair with a shaking hand. “Would you care to sit for a minute?”

We both pulled up a seat and faced him.

He paused for a moment before he began to speak. That’s all he needed. Just somebody to listen.

Walt spoke about the unfortunate timing of being born in 1922, of his good wife and his desire for a riding lawnmower.

On the very few times that we spoke, it was with dramatically elevated tones. So he could attempt to hear us in return.

Less than 10 minutes later, we stood to go. He seemed grateful as he held my hand with both of his.

As we both slipped into our car, we could still see him sitting in the chair, watching us.

It was easy to see that nothing else was more important that night. Any meeting, any report or to-do item to complete.

Walt was the most important thing. I can’t allow myself to forget that.