I was in the car, driving alone, down my driveway when I received a text message from a long time friend of mine asking if I knew Tyler Walsh. I have coached baseball for many years and he knew that I did know Justin Walsh. As soon as I read that message I got the, all too familiar, chill I get when I learn of someone I know, even indirectly, who has passed away. I answered before I ever left the yard, that I didn’t know him. I had seen the story on the news and hoped for some reason that these two things weren’t related. As it turned out, they were one and the same. I sat at the end of the driveway for a moment. I was facing west and I looked up toward the falling sun and muttered a prayer half aloud for the Walsh family and friends before I continued on to my destination.
My destination that late afternoon was to pick up my son. My 19-year-old son. It hit me like a gust of wind that challenges your strength and aim just to keep the car on the road. What if that was my 19-year-old son who was the young man in the story? I didn’t even want to think about it. I literally shook my head for a moment, as if to rid myself of the thought. Unable to shake the thought, my mind turned towards the thoughts and words I have shared with others facing similar situations in the past. I turned towards God. When I am weak, or at a total loss, I usually look in the direction of God. Thankfully, He’s always there. Some calm restored, I thought on the words I have written here. These have been written for others in the past, but are always written again with someone specifically in mind. Here are those words as I have written them for this time and place.
There’s a plan for all of this. God’s plan. Two words, that make many want to turn and run the other way, God’s plan, because it usually means something that us imperfect humans don’t understand, or something we don’t want to deal with. Whatever the reaction is, it doesn’t change the plan. When I was younger I fought the plan, I am sure I did. I also didn’t always understand how or why things so terrible could happen to people as part of God’s plan. I am certainly not going to pretend to know or understand all these things now either. I do know that almost always, we are a part of a plan that is much bigger than it appears on the surface.
Just look at the other day. Everyone was enjoying the incredible March weather. It was a topic of discussion everywhere in this area it seemed. At the same time a young man was taken from us by an accident that would have ended so much differently if it happened a thousand more times. Meanwhile, friends, former teachers, family, and others were carrying on in their daily lives. Then with one bit of news, somehow hundreds, maybe thousands, of people are linked together by one story. The words that describe the young man. The thoughts that pierce reality. The news that shatters tranquility here on earth is the call to action that was maybe necessary to reach the people who have been absent from the plan. The effects that ripple through the conscious thoughts of all who knew him. The outpouring of kindness, support, love, and concern. It’s all part of the plan. God’s plan.
Time will tell how the plan unfolds. Even though it’s God’s plan, we are to be present and participating in His plan. I am in no way trying to down play any of this; this is a serious matter. There’s a message in most everything and I am willing to bet, the warm memories, the courage we know he possessed to turn his life around, and his way about life are part of the message here as well. Think of the things you have heard, the things you have read, the things you have seen yourself, the life you may have been a part of first hand, all those things are a message of Tyler’s life. Often times through the most unthinkable loss or sacrifice comes the greatest gift or the most amazing victory.
Please don’t think that this is over when the news stops running or the stories stop circulating. You and I may be a part of the plan. Anyone of us could be instrumental. Our words, our actions, just might be the right thing at the right time for the one who needs that spoken word or the example they were looking for. Really it’s always supposed to be that way. We are human, and our best moments aren’t all of our moments. Yet the more we think our moments are our best, the more they will be. And the moment we decide that we need to be our best might just be the moment that God’s plan includes us to be the message for someone needing to see that something that helps them cope and overcome.
My thoughts and prayers are with Tyler’s family, friends, and loved ones. It’s a tough time for them all. Stand a little stronger, a little closer, and listen a little better, because they may need you. Now. Have faith, know, and trust that it’s God’s plan.