I lost a dear family friend of 25 years unexpectedly on Sunday afternoon.
“Mr. Wonderful” was one of his nicknames and he wasn’t just a dear family friend. He was one of my mentors.
Larry Walls loved his Savior, his family, and his friends, and was the biggest Apple fan I knew.
I had my first introduction to Apple computers when his daughter and I played games on her colorful iMac G3 back in the day. Years later as an Apple consultant, he guided me as I bought my first Mac and gave me my last one.
He was one of the first people I encountered who owned his own small business, and he became a mentor in all things technology and being an entrepreneur. When arch-rival Microsoft started featuring my business On the Baseline Tennis News in their marketing, Larry not only forgave me but cheered me on each step of the way.
When I made the transition away from professional tennis to small business & nonprofit consulting, he supported and advised me, and his website was one of the very first that Melanie and I redesigned. Over the years, many of his Apple consulting clients became our own clients, too.
I knew whenever I answered a call from Larry that it would be a good chat about whatever Apple, Microsoft, Google and Co. were up to, before the inevitable dive into politics.
He was the best storyteller while also being the best listener. He believed in spellchecking your emails, doing work you loved, and caring for your clients better than you would want to be treated yourself.
I heard from him last just 3 weeks ago. This busy man took time out of his day to send me a text wishing me a happy birthday. That he remembered it was my special day wouldn’t surprise anyone who knew him.
Because that was Larry.
His life was devoted to serving others, and even after his death, God is still using him. Mr. Wonderful was an organ donor and among other individuals benefited, a recipient received his twinkling corneas that shined God’s love and light so brightly.
Losing a mentor is a painful part of life that many of us will go through as we serve the Lord together. Many of you have felt this pain, too.
Joshua lost Moses, David lost Samuel, Timothy lost Paul, and even the disciples felt the pain of losing the physical presence of Jesus with them each day.
This week as I reflect on Larry’s life, I’m also reminded of those that God has called me to mentor. An unexpected death has a painful—yet necessary—-way of reminding you that God has us all here for a short time, on purpose, for a purpose.
We must also never forget that mentoring isn’t designed to be one-generational.
It’s designed to be passed on to the next generation, and the next generation, and the next.
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