Saturday, July 26, 2008

In Memory . . .



From the official obituary:

Daniel Max Walker, 22, passed away July 23, 2008. Dan passed away during his sleep due to a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Dan was born Aug. 29, 1985. He graduated from F C H S in 2004, where he participated in football, lacrosse and track.

After high school, Dan attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., graduating in May 2008 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

At Olivet, Dan was a four-year member of the football team, a football captain a member of Testament Men’s Choir, built and raced a Baja car and was a stellar disc golfer. Dan was currently working as an activities director at Golden Bell Camp and Conference Center. . .

Dan was a pilot, enjoyed the outdoors and was an excellent potter. Dan was a committed son, brother, friend and follower of Christ. His friends’ sentiments are…

“You were a living testimony to what God teaches us through Jesus Christ. It takes great character to live out your belief, and that trait was very evident in you.”

“You are an inspiration, a true man of God, one day I hope that I can be like you.”

“I know you lived your ‘grown up years’ as a man of God ... a true Testimony of Christ!”

“You set the standard ... you were a great example and an amazing Christian man.”

“You were a Man of God that everyone could lean and rely on. You have not only been a leader to your peers but to the family around you.”


I have been to many funerals in my life, and have played the organ for many as well. I have been to very sad services, and I have been to celebrations of life. This was the latter. Of course we're sad. Obviously there were many tears. But there was laughter and joy as well - our church building isn't large enough to handle the outpouring of love for this family, so we went to a large church in the town just north of us.

I wish I had known Dan better - based on the stories told during the audience participation, he was a truly amazing young man. He was wise beyond his years. Here are some excerpts from his application to the Focus on the Family Institute, where he planned to be for the fall semester.

"I'll probably never be in a full time ministry position in the church, but I'm convinced that I should be very involved in and contribute to the ministry and health of the church."

"I'm by no means perfect, but I have convictions that I hold on to, and I think people respect that."

"There are a lot of people that talk about God without basis or understanding, and I think that one thing I'm called to is to let people know of God's word for them wherever I am, and I know the need I have to know God's truth in order to do that effectively."

"Being a Christian also shapes how I look at everyday tasks. Something very powerful was when I learned that everything, no matter how trivial or menial, can and should be seen as an act of worship to God. So when I see the world through that lens, doing my homework, playing football, or even art takes on a powerful new perspective."

Dan's girlfriend, who would probably have been his fiancee soon, has spent the last month or so in India, doing a mission that was amazingly challenging for such a young woman. She shared with us that the last time she and Dan spoke face to face, they sat on a patio down at the camp and talked about heaven - about the streets of gold - how something we value so greatly here on earth is used for paving the streets in heaven. Did he have some inkling of his future?

I don't presume to understand God's thinking. But I have to say that I have thought often in the last 3 days of how close we came to losing Kev so many times during the years of his lostness (See Kev's story on my sidebar, if you don't know what I am referring to). I am so thankful for the grace of God that allowed Kev to live long enough to be ready to die. Dan was ready. And he will never more feel the sting of death -


27 comments:

Jess said...

How very sad, but also touching. I'm very thankful and know that you are too that he was saved. It sounds like he was wrapped in love and surrounded by poeple who truly cared for him...

God has a plan...and there is a reason for this.

I will be praying.

Susie said...

He sounds like such a fine young man.
Funerals for young people taken in their prime can be so difficult. My prayers continue.
xo

rockymountainpreacherchick said...

It was a beautiful service! And it was so great to have so many people there for the family. It was definitely a celebration of a life well lived.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

It sounds to me as if this young man did more in his 22 years than many do in a span of 70. What a blessing he was for so many it seems.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Your entire family should be looked at for a "history" of aneursyms. It's also genetic as well.

A simple Echo Cardiogram test for this family would HIGHLY be recommended.

Best Regards,
Brian Tinsley
www.aorticdissection.com
www.briantinsley.com

Linda said...

So beautifully said Dawn - we experience a strange dicotomy in times like these. There is the deep sadness and the overlaying joy. There is peace that passes understanding in the midst of great sorrow.
Dan has lived out the story of his life just as the Father lovingly planned it. Some day we will see clearly why these things must be. In the meantime, He wraps His arms around those that are grieving and pours out His love.

mjgolch said...

to walk in the grace of God, to live your live with God and to one of his Angels,Priceless. Daniel you have been all of these on Earth. You are now home with God.
I wish I could have met you in life.
Dawn, thank you for sharing the great man with us.
Hugs and God's Love and Blessings. Mike G. said that.

Sharon Lynne said...

Thanks for the report. It's nice to see a young man growing and living for his Lord. And he is still living!

I read a part of it to my 17 year old son...about that everything we do, is an act of worship (even homework!)

Tomorrow, Sunday, my son is playing drums for worship in the big church service for the first time. I pray that my son understands, as Dan did, that he plays to glorify God...and as an act of worship.

Nadine said...

What a touching tribute to an amazing young man of God. My prayers are with all who knew him, his parents, siblings and his girlfriend.

Linds said...

What a fine young man he was. Wise too. I think I am going to show my son this post as well, Dawn.

Tammy said...

This makes me cry, Dawn...what an outstanding young man he was. It is sometimes confusing to us why God allowed this when he seemed to have his whole future ahead of him...but God sees what we cannot.
I'll keep praying for his family and dear friends, Dawn.

Lala's world said...

so sad to leave here so young, but so glad we know exactly where he is!

Mimi said...

I caught up on your posts this afternoon, and was saddened to hear that the son of your dear friend has gone to be with the Lord at such a young age...
I know that this is devastating to the family and to your church family as well...I pray for you all as you come to grips with God's will and surround the family with love...
Mimi

Penless Thoughts said...

Beautifully written comments Dawn. Life is short. We never know what even today brings, much less tomorrow and we must be ready to meet our Savior.
Susan

Midlife Mom said...

What a lovely young man. It's not meant for us to understand at this point on earth and we know that God has His plan and makes no mistakes. I just pray for God's grace to rain on this dear family at this time and that they will exprience the peace that passes all understanding!

Theresa said...

How sad. I'm praying for his family.

Nancy said...

My prayers for you and the family continue. Heaven is a brighter place now because he is there and many lives have been touched by his life which is a blessing indeed!

rockymountainpreacherchick said...

Oh, I'm an Olivet Grad. Good friends with brook and matt soulia. I just moved to the Denver area a few weeks ago, and was at the funeral, since a large portion of my friends needed me to be there.
So I'm youth pastoring in littleton now, but was definitely connected with Dan on many levels.
:) I guess I could have said that.

Maine Mom said...

It is sad that he died at such a young age, but a comfort that he had such a dedication to God and he is in a good place.

Simply Heart And Home said...

Dawn,

What a lovely tribute to a fine young man. My prayers are with his dear family.

Thank you again for praying for my daughter. She home safe and sound but then left again. :) I wrote about her Hurricane Dolly account today.

Gina

Needled Mom said...

What a tremendous loss for our world, Dawn. He sounds like he had such a great heart and sense of right. I know that he will be missed. It does sound as though the family has a wonderful support system from the community and the church. I will keep them in my prayers.

Thanks for missing me. I have been really busy but will try to post a catch up today or tomorrow.

Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years said...

To live is Christ; to die is gain. But what a fantastic young man he is as described here--God bless his parents and siblings. *sigh*

Robin said...

What a great loss for earth. What a beautiful gain for Heaven.
Still praying.

Judith said...

Dawn,

I know the heartache and sadness is so heavy to bear, but thank God, in a world that so needs it, this young man's testimony, as shown by his life, outshines the sadness. And, Your Uncle Bud, posted about recently, what an example of what God can do with not much more than steadfast determination.

MugwumpMom said...

What a testimony he was/is. And so young. Beautiful thoughts here. Peace and grace to all who will miss him.

RainyD's said...

my heart breaks for the family who is suffering the loss of their son, brother, friend! However my heart rejoices that this young man knew our Savior and is now in the awsome presence of our Lord! I will pray for the family, friends and community mourning the loss of this young man. (((Dawn)))

nannykim said...

A beautiful story; it is times like these when it really makes those close to the person reflect more seriously on how we are spending our time and what we are living for...