Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An old friend

When I was in high school, I had a dear friend. He was several years older - a seminary student in his mid-20's - but he took a keen interest in myself and several others, teaching our Sunday School class, leading a youth Bible study and providing a guiding hand at a critical juncture in life. His name was Dave Steward. Dave was an awfully bright guy who could've gone places other than Joshua, but the Lord brought him to us and I'm glad He did. Dave was at times the confidant, at times the counselor, at times the discipler, each in turn and each with effectiveness.

What I haven't told you about Dave is this: he was stricken with cerebral palsy, a disorder affecting the cerebrum and muscle coordination. For Dave, an oxygen deprivation at his birth caused the malady. It caused him to walk with a distinctive gait, a swaying, hip-gyrating swish regularly resulting in a fall. Imagine someone walking as if they were hula-hooping and you have an idea of what it was like to walk with Dave. Each of us made up an imitation of Dave's stride, much to his delight. He became ESSENTIAL to take with us to Six Flags since he, with his handicapped status, could go in through the exit to any ride on the premises. He loved us and we loved him. For me, he became a mentor and a leader, a kind of personal pastor who guided me through some difficult waters during my last three years of high school. The one certainty I learned from Dave was don't let your circumstances dictate your future if you believe God has a powerful future ahead for you. Limitations, even physical ones, are temporary hindrances for the powerful God of the universe.

Dave passed away about 5 years ago, living much longer than his doctors told him he would. While I miss his ministry and his love for the Lord, his legacy lives on in the lives he helped change (like mine). Thus, when I got to my office this morning and found this video emailed to me from a friend, I promptly wept like a school-girl remembering his influence in my life and how he helped me to become the man I am. It's not about Dave, but one cut from his same cloth. I don't know about his spiritual life, but learn from his determination. Meet D.J. Gregory. The video is a little longer than I usually use, but it's well worth your time.






1 comment:

Ronny Cooksey said...

Wow. I guess you will need to add me to the list of those "weeping like a school girl"....

Ronny