My message notes for the Royse Merle Wall funeral… be inspired! Photo above: Merle and my son/his grandson Coree Balsamo.
PowerPoint: Royse Merle Wall
Did you listen to the lyrics to the song in this powerpoint?
- May the words I say… And the things I do… Make my lifesong sing… Bring a smile to you.
- Chorus: Let my lifesong sing to You… Let my lifesong sing to You… I want to sign your name… to the end of this day… Knowing that my heart was true… Let my lifesong sing to You.
- LORD, I give my life… A Living sacrifice… To reach a world in need… To be your hands and feet.
- So may the words I say… And the things I do… Make my lifesong sing… Bring a smile to You.
- This song describes my father in law, Royse Merle Wall.
Dear God, give us grace today… carry us in your arms, like the footprints in the sand… help us to see this even through your eternal eyes… EMPOWER every one of us with a profound revelation of the tremendous victory this memorial service really is… so that we may push back some of our tears to applaud a hero this hallowed day! Give us a great reality of this one fact: that the real Royse Merle Wall that we all loved so much, is not in this casket… that he has graduated… he has finished his race… he fought hard and went out victoriously! Let us be warmed with the reality of this situation: that Merle is right now RECEIVING his REWARD… and that we WILL SEE HIM AGAIN! In Jesus name I pray… amen!
Four years ago, it was my queen and mom Barbara Dobzeniecki Balsamo, and then there was Emily’s grandmother mother Elizabeth Musser, after that came my grandfather-I called him “Hun” Adam Paul Dobzeniecki, and this past April it was my forever young-Uncle Tuff. Today I stand before this great crowd to honor my father in law… Roycse Merle Wall. He was my father, and the greatest man I ever knew! This is the most BITTER, SWEET moment of my entire life.
On behalf of the family, I thank you all for coming to honor the man that honored all of us… for coming to comfort us in this time of overwhelming loss… for coming to celebrate the life of a LEGEND! Thank you all for coming here to applaud the strong and courageous finish of an epic race! To cheer our King Merle Wall across the threshold of heaven!
Merle loved Jesus Christ more than any person in my vast circle of friends… he loved his family more than any person in my vast circle of friends. He wanted to stay with us forever, but like all humans-Merle had to cross over-from time to eternity. His time came, and today Royse Merle Wall is with the lover of his soul-he is in that very real place he dreamed of going every single day of this past decade.
“He was one of the greatest people to ever live on earth! Every time he was with us it was like he wanted nothing, but wanted us to have everything! He was such a great person! And I know that some of him lives in all of us, and if we all become more like him everyday this world will become a much greater place!” -Heaven Balsamo
(Song-The Lords Prayer)
Opening Comments Continued…
I think about all those people at the family night… I estimate more than 50 of them traveled 2 hours both ways! Some of them bought hotel rooms so they could be here for both segments of this memorial! And look at all the people in this funeral!
Merle never had a speaking platform… he wasn’t a senator (and thank God for that, for he would have been a union worker democrat! Emily loved debating politics with her dad! We almost converted him during this past presidential election.)… Merle was a worker ant; he never led a great company, never chaired an influential board, and never made it to the front page of a newspaper or to any page that I know of.
And yet look at all these people he INFLUENCED WITH HIS LOVE! Hundreds of you good people… one family drove two and a half hours last night, drove west into an ice storm… and came back to be here today! People are here from as far away as Florida to honor YOUR husband, YOUR dad, YOUR PAPA! They came to honor a man who NEVER STOOD IN THE LIME LIGHT.
- Now look at Jesus Christ! In three years… he changed the world ONE PERSON at a time without a microphone, no website or television program… He just WALKED ON FOOT from village to village LOVING each special person he met.
- Here we are a few thousand years from those THREE YEARS… STILL affected by THAT LOVE right now!
- Because LOVE like THAT never fades away!
- Merle also changed the world one person at a time!
- And that flies in the face of all my rushing about… my striving to publish my book and greatly expand my platform of influence so I can build tomorrow’s better world.
- My father in law, Merle Wall… he demonstrated the RIPPLING POWER OF LOVING ONE PERSON AT A TIME! (hand motion over the crowd rippling towards the back)
His life sent more than one MAIN MESSAGE… he blew my mind… the SIMPLEST MAN I EVER KNEW, and yet, the MOST DEMENSIONAL MAN I EVER KNEW! Every time I dissected the man… I saw something else I WANTED IN MY OWN LIFE!
I wrote the following message on my sons facebook wall @ 5:28am yesterday morning:
- Coree, I am so proud of the amazing person you are! When we dedicated you to God right after you were born, I prayed, “God, please let my son grow up to be just like Merle.” And here we are almost 19 years later… and God has answered that prayer! On the day papa passed away, when you came outside to help your sister, when you were still in so much pain yourself (the worse pain of your life)… and you wrapped your arms around her as she cried like I’ve never seen anyone cry before… I listened to you talk… and I was blown away at how perfectly you spoke to her.
The Messages of Merle Wall
Here are a few of the reasons I wanted my son to be like my father in law… instead of like his father!
1. Merle taught us that fashion means nothing! (prop-bring his outfit!)
- I don’t think Merle ever said the following phrases:
- I can’t get my hair to do right today!
- Wow, I look hot right now! (Unless he was joking with one of his grandkids, as he OFTEN did)
- I need some new clothes!
- Or… do you think I look good in this? Does this shirt make me look fat?
- Merle is famous for wearing his straw hat, and those long black support hose, and his big-framed glasses, and shorts.
- Merle was so out of style and he NEVER stressed a single SECOND about his appearance.
- I never felt INSECURE about my appearance when Merle was near… it was like I caught some of that spirit when I was with him!
- This is an outward demonstration of that inward SELFLESSNESS of Merle Walls heart. He didn’t care what he looked like… but he sure cared about dressing up all the rest of us.
- He purchased a green Tarheels produce stand t-shirt 20 some years ago… they only sold the shirt for ONE YEAR… and Merle wore his discount shirt EVERY year for his 20% discount!
- We were with Merle at Tarheels on our way to the beach this past summer… and the owner told Merle this year, he seemed like the last guy standing with the green shirt! He said there was one other lady and she had passed away.
- God help us to become more like Merle… so secure in WHO WE ARE, so outwardly focused that we’re no longer moved by how good we look.
2. Merle taught us to “use diplomacy!”
- Merle was dangerously easygoing… people often mistook his humility as a sign of weakness… and oftentimes, people walked all over him.
- And for every person who ever did… you may have started out feeling like you got over on Merle… and as the situation progressed, you ALWAYS walked away knowing… the power of his HUMILIATING LOVE was far greater than the power of your selfish aggression.
- Wayne was telling me the other day… he didn’t like how people took advantage of his dad… so he decided to be more aggressive… he set out to protect himself from the abuses leveled at meek persons.
- And Merle would always tell Wayne (and the rest of the children) “You’ve got to learn to use diplomacy”… instead of arguing.
- “When you fight with Mom… you may win the battle… but I always lose the war.”
- The Chicken story:
- Merle had just gotten home from a long hard day of work on evening… was sitting at the dinner table, getting ready to eat.
- Wayne came in from somewhere… and got in a big exchange of WORDS with Millie!
- Wayne kept on until Millie slammed the chicken down on the oven door… and chicken went everywhere!
- Millie ran back to the bedroom, crying. Wayne and Merle remained in the Kitchen.
- Merle waited for the silence… then he looked up at Wayne with a sad expression, glanced down at the chicken on the floor… never blinked an eye, never moved… just said to Wayne, “Now look what you did, my chickens dirty. You’ve got to learn to use diplomacy!”
- For Merle, life was all about give and take! He did far more giving than taking… life was about keeping the peace… and that’s one more reason we grieve people like him when they are gone!
- God teach us to use far more diplomacy… even when it calls for us to be taken advantage of. Show us how to LET YOU FIGHT OUR BATTLES… so that we generate the SAME kind of PEACE Merle created in his circle of friends and family!
3. Merle taught us to tie up loose ends!
- We had a blown taillight bulb for almost a year! Every time Merle would see it, he would tell me, “Chuck, you know you have a bulb out on the Suburban?” I know he remembered telling me before… and each time he would get a little more aggressive about it. Eventually, he explained to me where all the screws were located and how to change the bulb. The last time was about a month ago… he told me to pick up the bulb and we could change it at the house.
- Trees, Big T, and gutters… he wanted to make sure everything was taken care of. He would not let anything stay broken.
- Merle was not a procrastinator. He watched over his family VERY CAREFULLY… to make sure everyone was safe and everything was in good repair.
- He gave Millie perfect instructions about everything…
- On more word on loose ends:
- When things started looking really bad for Merle… I encouraged Emily to go into the room and tell him anything she needed to tell him. And she told me, “My dad and I don’t have any lose ends to tie up! He loved me every single day of my life… and I loved him just the same! We don’t have anything else to say to each other… none of my family has anything else they need to say to him. “
- God help us to watch over our family and friends as Merle watched over his. Let us no longer procrastinate… let us not put off till tomorrow those things we can do TODAY! Let us tie up our loose ends… this week, this year, and for the rest of our lives. Not just concerning our houses and cars and other earthly possessions, but may we never permit a single loose end in any of our precious relationships!
4. Merle taught us to value education!
- Merle showed his hand to Coree one day and said, “Look at the hands of a laborer… you see the blisters… these don’t look too good, do they? God has blessed you with a great brain… so use you head, not your back.”
- He was so proud that all of his kids went to college… and he was so proud of Kelsey, Elizabeth, Coree, and Heaven for going to college this coming fall!
- Merle was always reading something… at least for one HOUR every day in his 8×10 office… you know, the one with the loud fan! And trust me, I know what he did in his office… because I walked in on him one time!
- He loved to learn! He admired innovation.
- God, inspire us to value education as Merle did. Let us value the right kind of education. Let us learn about things that are pertinent to our careers and families… and most of all, give us that same highly contagious desire Merle had for studying your word and learning your ways!
5. Merle taught us that love is worth the pain!
- On Wednesday morning I posted the following message on my daily blog:
- Every person should live & love in such a way that they are mourned as Royse Merle Wall was mourned yesterday. I’ve never seen anything like it.
- I suppose that’s the downside to being LOVED… the immensity of pain that comes with separation.
- Thank God for his amazing grace… that he picks us up when we fall down, he wipes our tears when we cry, he puts us back together when we splinter to pieces, he carries us in his arms when we cannot take another step.
- Sometimes, when we are in the storm… we fail to see how much God is doing FOR US, to keep us alive.
- For a few hours, I wondered where God went… I thought about Jesus on the cross in his darkest moment crying to his Father, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I searched for his strength and found no relief. At least it felt that way! And this morning as I play it back in my mind, I can only image how much worse this would have been without God.
- At one point, I prayed for my wife and two kids with so much intensity, it felt like vessels were popping in my brain. I thought I was going to die, as they cried so hard I almost called a doctor! Even right now, I’m remembering back… and there is NO WAY to describe yesterday afternoon.
- Love is Worth the Pain
- There is a happy ending to this sad story…
- I began today’s message with a statement: Every person should live & love in such a way that they are mourned as Royse Merle Wall was mourned yesterday. I’ve never seen anything like it!
- Some people argue strong, over the safety of never loving… they hide behind the apparent protection of NEVER allowing themselves to be loved… than to risk this kind of pain.
- I say that LOVE IS WORTH THE PAIN! I have been the recipient of LOVE… lots and lots of love! I am the PRODUCT of LOVE!
- There is no denying the pain that accompanies such vulnerability:
- Oftentimes, love opens our pores to the venom of betrayal.
- Oftentimes, love builds us up for the agony of saying goodbye!
- But to live without FEELING… to live without loving… to live without being loved… is to deprive us of LIFE ITSELF.
- I thank God for the PAIN we all FEEL RIGHT NOW… even through all the GRACE God is BEAMING DOWN ON US! In this PAIN we know… we were LOVED like few people will ever have the chance of knowing.
- God, help us to live and love in such a way that we are mourned as THIS MAN is being mourned this week. Help us to love EXTRAVEGANTLY… without limits… without fear… without restraint… so that we too may leave this earth with NO REGRETS.
6. Merle taught us to “give it to the Lord!”
- Merle believed God for a miraculous healing… and even though he passed away from the cancer he so courageously withstood… merle received so many miracles along the way… his faith kept him alive far longer than any of the doctors expected.
- One day, we were all sitting in his hospital room… I walked up to Merle and patted his right shoulder and told him I loved him. And Merle said to me, “Well Chuck, it looks like it getting to be that time.” A bunch of us responded all at once, “Getting ready to be what time Merle?” He gently smiled back at us and said, “Time for my miracle.”
- He told me just a few weeks before that, “Chuck, no matter how this turns out, I win. There is no downside to the Christian life! Even though, I want to stay in the earth for many more years, I’m ready to go… I’m not scared… I know where I’m going.” He told Emily the very same thing on another occasion!
- The last article he read, Kenneth Copeland… give your burdens to the Lord. (My assistant made about 40 copies of that article… for anyone who wished to read it.)
- Merle never stressed about tomorrow… but he trusted the one who holds the keys to every tomorrow. His faith was matchless… even in all my travels and personal meetings with some of the greatest Christian leaders in the world… with people like TD Jakes, Jenzten Franklin, and Pastor Rod Parsley… I have never seen a GREATER, PURER FAITH than the FAITH OF ROYSE MERLE WALL.
- God, may this heritage be Merles GREAT LEGACY… give us that unflinching faith, even in the darkest of circumstances, may we ALWAYS give our burdens to the Lord!
Comments from family and friends: open the floor
Some of Merles final words:
- Merle got excited about the littlest things that nobody else cared about… for example: He started drinking Milk last week when he was in the hospital… and Emily said, “Wow Papa, you really like that Milk!”
- And Merle said, “Coree gave me one yesterday!”
- Emily said, “I didn’t know you liked milk!”
- Merle said, “I just started liking it!”
- He thought for a minute and continued, “It’s a really good drink!”
- It’s 4:30am EST Monday January 18th… I’m sitting beside my father in law right now. Emily just went to bed while I take this morning watch. I’ve been praying for him on and off throughout the night and now with great passion. Yesterday was a difficult day for him. This morning, he shows the evidence of our prayers and yours. Even though his body is ravaged, his spirit is soaring!
- I showed him the magnetic plug for my macbook computer… he said, “That’s really neat isn’t it. You know there’s some really smart people in this world.”
- I asked him if the morphine helps and he said, “Yea but it messes with your hearing a little… and it messes with your seeing too. Everything gets blurry.”
- There was a long pause of silence and then he said, “I’m so glad Roger (one of his friends) accepted the Lord. Roger is a good man. He’s been my friend for sooo long. It’s for eternity. And how long is eternity?” Then, after he caught his breath, he continued, “I owe him some money and he won’t tell me how much… I don’t know how many times he’s cut my grass.”
- I prayed beside him with my hands crossed for about 30 minutes, so that he knew I was praying… and when I finished, he peaked out of his left eye and then with both eyes, and he turned to me and said, “The Lord is good Chuck… he’s so good… the Lord is sooo good to me.” He breathed a few more times and added, “I was thinking he might talk to me tonight… but he’s being quiet right now. That’s ok, I know he loves me. I can feel his love all the time.”
- When I wheeled him to the bathroom and he asked to sit in his chair for a while to recapture his breath from the journey… I placed my left hand on his left shoulder… and he closed his eyes so reverently as he always does in times of prayer… and after I had prayed quietly for about a minute, he said to me, “I know you’re praying for me Chuck… I can feel your prayers… Thank you for praying for me.”
- Every few times I do this, he reaches around to put his hand on top of mine while I pray. I let go of his shoulder after about 30 seconds… because I know it hurts him to stretch around like that.
- On Sunday, he told me how happy he was the get a visit from his old friend Claud. He said, “I gave a printed copy of the sinners prayer to Claude… and I asked him to take it home… and I asked him to say that prayer when he’s all alone… and mean it with all his heart… and the Lord will save him. I worked with him for 40 years… he’s been a good friend of mine.”
- Merle never asked for anything, no matter how bad he needed it. Every 10 minutes or so, we had to ask him, “Merle-do you need anything?” On Monday morning he said, “Yeah Chuck; can you turn on the light?” I got up and turned it on as he requested… and he smiled and said to me, “I don’t like sitting in the dark when I’m awake.”
- About 10 minutes later I asked if I could get him anything… and he said, “I’d love to have that Kenneth Copeland magazine, you know-that one I had at the hospital? There’s a really good article in there about giving your cares to the Lord… and I would like to give a few cares to the Lord this morning.”
- He coughed up something and spit it into his pink container… and I asked, “Do you want a paper towel?” He said, “Oh no, I’ve got one.” He stared at me and said, “I’m comin’ along!”
- I just asked him, “What do you want me to tell the world today?” He thought for a minute and said, “Huh… what… oh, nothing yet.” Lol
- Merle wasn’t a man of words… he was a man of selfless actions.
- Then he went into deep thought… and held up his cup and asked, “What is this the apple juice?” I said yes and he smiled and replied, “Oh, ok… I couldn’t make up in my mind for a long time if it was the apple juice or the grape juice.”
- On one afternoon, Merle was passing Millie his empty morphine/apple sauce cup… he said, “I think I got it all.” Millie looked at it and said, “yup, you got it all… you did I good job.” And he looked at me with his eyes raised way up and said, “I did a goood job.” He looked so proud!
- We wheeled him to the bathroom… when he got home from the hospital, I looked in to make sure he was ok and he was looking out the window to examine the tree work he just had done.
- He finished going potty… and wheeled his walker to the sink, and washed his hands and brushed his teethe… did this every time he went to the bathroom!
- Then he looked around the bathroom for a towel… and he reached for the decorative towel and started wiping his hands… and looked up at me said, “Oh, this is the wrong towel chuck; she’ll get on me if she catches me…”
- He finished up and put the towel back… and smiled real big and said, “She didn’t catch me.”
- One day he was talking about burial for some reason… and he said, “Big Tom (the tree man) can pop open a hole and throw me in it! It’s just my old body anyways… that’s not the real me.”
- Audio clip of Merle: I am a spirit! (If we can make this happen)
- One of my earliest experiences with Merle, we were shooting guys at the hunt camp in Craigsville and the scope popped my eye real good! Merle waited for me to get close to him and I was dabbing up the blood with my shirt trying not to let Jeff and Wayne see it… and Merle said real soft, “It gottcha didn’t it?”
- Merle loved the outdoors… loved his hunt club buddies… loved hunting and fishing like few people I have ever known.
- It was tough seeing such an outdoors guy, confined to the inside so much this past year. He wanted his freedom…
- Millie was trying to protect him… and she was concerned about us wheeling Merle all over the house… and he waited for Millie to get out of the room and he said to me, “You know Chuck, it makes ya feel better if you move around a little… I don’t want to lay in that bed!”
- On Sunday night… Coree got home from his concert and went in to chat with Papa… He asked Coree if it was a Christian concert… He asked, “What was your favorite song the band played?” And then he asked, “Did they sing power in the blood? That’s my favorite song!” No Papa, the screamer band did not play power in the blood.
- He asked Coree if he still had that girlfriend Lynchburg? “Did you meet any Richmond girls? Richmond has very nice girls Coree… You need to find a girlfriend in Lynchburg, and Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville, and Stuarts Draft, and Roanoke…”
- “But you gotta be careful about keeping your girls to close… because they might find out about each other…”
- “And you gotta be careful with those college girls… they’ll try to snag you, you need to dance lightly with them… and finish college!”
- On Monday night we were going to bed… Emily remained behind with Merle… there was a long silence… then Emily said, “What are you doing?” He said, “You know, I’ve been thinking.” Emily said, “Thinking about what… what you been thinking about?” He said, “I’ve been thinking… I’m sleeping with that rail down… I need some freedom!”
- I asked Merle if he was feeling any pain… and he said, “No, not really… I haven’t been feeling ANY pain… that’s one thing I’m so thankful for… I asked the Lord to take my pain… and he took it.” He paused and said, “Give your problems to the Lord and he’ll take em’. He’s been good to me.”
- Emily and Coree were with him in the early hours of that morning. Merle said, “Coree, I love you man… I love ya.”
- Coree said, Papa you thirsty… you want me to go get you some milk, “Yeah, how’d you know that!!” Tons of enthusiasm.
- Kept falling over… Coree kept holding him up… and Merle said, “I’m ready… (Coree said) what are you ready for? Are you ready to get better Papa? (Merle replied) Yup, I’m ready to get better.”
- At about 4 in the morning on the day he passed away, Millie said, “Merle hunny, I love you.” Merle said, “I Love ya.”
- I heard him tell this to every one of you guys! No truer words ever spoken!
- When he was fading from consciousness and hadn’t said anything for a long time… Millie and I were sitting with him… and he opened his eyes and looked at me… and I said, “Hey buddy, you doing ok?” He said, “Huh, what? Are YOU doing ok?” I said, “Yes, I’m doing great… are you doing ok?” And he said, “Yup, doing ok.” (Nodding his head up and down once)
Merles loved fishing! (prop-fishing pole)
- By the time I came into the family… all we had was a bunch of fish stories… most of the big catches took place before I came along.
- I’m sure it was just me… and my lack of PAITENCE… but we just never caught fish when I when I fished with Merle… lol
- Until TODAY!
- Jesus told Peter, come follow me and I will make you fishers of men!
- When I first started preaching… on the night of my very first sermon… Merle was there!
- At the end of the service, I gave my very first pulpit invitation for people to receive Christ… and MERLE RAISED HIS HAND.
- He lived a moderate Christian life after that day… until his ambulance death experience… and he made a promise with God… and he made good on that promise!
- We are sad because Merle has left this earth… but he is NOT GONE!
- 1 Corinthians 15 The body has to die! There is life after death… and this life is VERY short…
- People have different beliefs about how you and I should seek to KNOW God. Some believe that it’s unhealthy for a person to go to overboard about spiritual things… I feel like this: life is short… and IF you believe in life after death… and IF you believe that God made everything and that god loves you more than any human ever can… than, you must believe that this lifetime is the testing ground of eternity.
- We must PREPARE for what is next! At some point we must start living in the face of ETERNITY!
- Jesus said, “I am the way truth and life!”
- Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:9
- Today, I’m fishing with the greatest power bait a man has ever used… and I’m casting out the line right now!
- Raise your hand…
So what are we going to do with this vacuum that’s been created with Merle’s departing?
- Funeral services have a way of opening our eyes to the shortness of this temporary life on earth-they make us think about eternity. They have a way of silencing all our noisiness of life… and tunnel our focus into the things that really matter: like relationships, and the kind of life we’re living, and the example were setting for others… like the kind of person we are, and what purpose God had in mind for us, when he created us.
- One of two things happens during losses of THIS caliber:
- People either go into a state of deep depression and we hibernate away in a cave of despair… OR… they emerge from it with a whole new reason to LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST… and live life in a way that we make a real difference in our circle!
- Don’t stay down BEYOND THIS MEMORIAL SERVICE… today… right here… let your mourning be turned into the FUEL or your ambitious future!
- You know it’s gonna be difficult… but somehow, you must look around today at the little ones in your midst!
- You must search for God in this season until each of you hear a pure calling over your own lives… just like the prophet Isaiah heard when his King and friend was taken away! It was during that time of grief that he discovered the meaning of his existence and began his journey into SIGNIFICANCE!
- It’s in moments like this one that we realize that it’s become our turn to LEAD… it’s our turn to cease from complaining about our own aches and pains… and start sacrificing for the coming generations. We realize that it’s our time to pick up the gauntlet and RUN our race.
- And with Gods help… we must rise from this challenge and with a GREAT BIG SMILE… and become a greater covering for the coming generations!
Again, this message, this moment… was the most bitter sweet moment of my life. The reality of our tremendous loss, mixed with the impact of this honorable mans life and the reality of his eternal REWARD… I will never forget Friday, January 22, 2010 from 12-2pm! Every person in attendance witnessed a most historical moment in time.
And thats it for today… God bless you all with the inspiration of this blog.
Dream Big, Live Bold, and Make the Difference!