Cyril D. Walrond


“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Death is all around us but many are too blind to see. Being preoccupied by the insignificant things we accumulate in hopes that they will fill the insatiable hole in our lives. Hoping those things can add valuable to a life that seems all but depleted and/or worthless.

Death is all around us but as many people walk to and from, as they come and go, they do so without ever truly living. They move about aimlessly just hoping their mere existence will be enough.

Death is all around us but as I look around I see many dead people walking. Dead in sin, sorrow, and selfishness.

Death is all around us but it takes death to resurrect life.

Sadly, it takes death to reaffirm the value of life and remind us that life is truly just a vapor. Life is just a grain of sand on the beaches of eternity.

True death is eternal seperation from God. And thus, I thank God not just for my life but the life of my friend Charlie McKinney.

I attended his memorial service today and it was one of the most beautiful services, for one of the most beautiful people I have been blessed to know.

A man that freely pointed out the talent within me and challenged me to do more with it than waste it as some many others he has known have. Charlie always mentioned the great talents hidden in prison, many of which he feared would be forgotten and lost forever.

While most people live according to how much they can take, Charlie lived wondering how much he can give. And when he ran out of things to give, he found ways to give more.

This is a man that did not leave a legacy as a prisoner but as an incredible human that touched many peoples lives.

This man loved his family, his work, and his coffee all the way through to the end.

But, his end isn’t the end but his new beginning.

Prior to his passing God showed him a vision, and quite a vision it was.

He saw before him, life and death, heaven and hell, God and the grim reaper all pulling for him. He had a choice to make, he had to choose for himself whom he will serve.

Charlie therefore chose to serve Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. Savior as salvation comes by NO other name. Lord as Jesus was now the sovereign Master, Ruler, and Supreme Authority over his life.

While in pain, Charlie didn’t tell people he was dying of brain cancer. No, he told of his undying love for Jesus and how God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son to die a death that we were deserving of so that we could live eternally with Him.

While he was fighting this battle for his physical life, Charlie was never beaten down because he had the blessed assurance for his eternal life.

Charlie had every excuse to be sad, depressed, or even to frown but instead he smiled.

He smiled when he was told he had only 6-9 months to live.

He smiled when his clemency was denied and he would not be able to spend his last days outside of prison with his family by his side.

He smiled through the midst of the storm now I know the Lord is smiling upon him.

Yet, many of us can’t even muster up a smile and we haven’t even gone through a fraction of the things he had. This just proves that the joy of the Lord truly was Charlie’s strength.

You can learn a lot from the way one lives, as well as from the way that one dies.

Well, Old Man, you taught this youngster much about both. You showed me how to live, and when my number is called you have showed my how to die well, how to die beautifully.

You lived with purpose, you died with strength.

You lived with class, you died with grace.

You lived with love, you died in love with Jesus Christ.

Charlie, I thank you beyond words for all that you brought into my life. For the substance you added. The words of encourage you never spared when I needed them the most. I don’t know if heaven has the internet but I want you to know that I love you (I wish I would have said it more while you were here) and I will see you again one day. Death has no more sting, and in Christ we have the VICTORY! Your brother in Christ and your friend, C

“For we walk by faith, not by sight: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be rather absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:7-8

Cyril Walrond
DOC #309756

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