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I wrote a portion of this a few years ago and shared it with a few of you

It needed to be amended because I have been thinking about it for a few weeks

It’s about angels that walk amongst us

Have a seat, while I tell you about a dear sweet friend of mine

But first I need to tell you a little story…

Coach Gene Stallings son, John Mark Stallings who was born with Down’s syndrome, passed away in 2008 at age 46….

It hit me hard and It scared me……

Because I have my own John Mark Stallings

He is a good friend of mine

But in reality Charlie is the little brother I never had

Charlie doesn’t know or understand my love of Alabama Football….

He won’t even be able to read this article and he hasn’t be able to read the other things I wrote for him either.

But it doesn’t matter….

Because you see, everything I ever really needed to know I learned from Charlie…

You can go to college and get advanced degrees and you can read all the latest self-improvement books and order a bunch of stuff from Amazon to help you cope with life.

But for a PhD in true wisdom take a look at the lives of John Mark and “my” Charlie….

To the day he died John Mark Stallings wore a massive, diamond encrusted Alabama National Championship ring on his frail fingers, which were tinged a grayish blue from the lack of oxygen caused by his heart condition.

Johnny was front and center in that 1992 Alabama National Championship team photo.

In fact…

He was a part of every team his father coached, including the storied Dallas Cowboys in the 1970’s

The players drew inspiration from him…

When Johnny turned 40 years old his Birthday Party was attended by a “Who’s Who” of Former NFL Stars…

Not many people ever heard of my Charlie…

But he is just as important and every bit as inspiring as anyone you ever met…

So what have I learned from Charlie?

Every Life Matters…..

The Lives of John Mark and Charlie teach us all, that God can use anyone…

No matter how insignificant they may appear in the eyes of society…

Charlie has none of the things that you and I take for granted

But he has touched many lives; in ways you and I can’t imagine…

Our materialistic, success driven culture doesn’t know what to do with people like Charlie and never has

Society didn’t know what to do with Charlie when he was born over 50 years ago….

But God did…

See the good in everyone…

“Be my Friend…”

When Charlie meets you…

You become his friend…and he doesn’t forget it.

Charlie literally doesn’t see evil in people..

He will have more friends in his lifetime than any of us will ever enjoy…

Be Humble……

The Bible tells us, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God…”

That describes Charlie in a nutshell….

He can’t read…

But he can clasp his little hands together and get down on his knees and pray the sweetest prayers you ever heard…

Charlie doesn’t know the finer points of theology…..
But Charlie knows God….
And God Knows Charlie….

And that’s a fact

Be Yourself…..

Charlie isn’t trying to be anyone other than himself…
He isn’t trying to be important….
He isn’t trying to act smarter than everyone else….
Charlie is comfortable being Charlie….

How many of us can say we are really “Happy” with ourselves?

Love Unconditionally….

In Charlie’s World you don’t keep score or attach strings to love..

He loves unconditionally…all the time.

Smile…Laugh..Hug…

The last time I saw Charlie I brought him a T-shirt…

He hugged me….and when He hugs you…
He hugs you like he means it…

He patted my back all day, because that’s what he does….
He smiled all the time…

Charlie always makes everyone fell better just for having been around him…

Who among us can say that about ourselves?

Treasure every moment….

Charlie, like John Mark, wasn’t supposed to live very long….

Doctors said they wouldn’t live past the age of four….

When you aren’t expected to live, you treasure every moment…

Little Victories are the ones that matter the most….

I have some really hard things to do in my life….
But everyday was difficult for Charlie…
But he never complained….
He just smiled….

Everybody focuses on the championships…

But with Charlie you celebrate all the little victories..

Then after a while you realize that those are the ones that really matter the most…

Trust God…..

Despite being frail and disabled John Mark Stallings wore a National Championship ring…

Every member of the 1992 Alabama team will tell you of Johnny’s impact on that team.

Johnny Stallings literally changed the world and made everybody he met a better person – if only for a moment.

Gene Stallings, a star football player, championship coach and tough enough to be one of Bear Bryant’s immortal “Junction Boys”, probably used to dream of a son who would be an impact player….

A son who would change the world….

A son who would make a difference and someday, maybe…
wear a National Championship ring…

“I prayed to God that He would change Johnny….
But he changed me….” Coach Stallings said about his son.

He added that if God offered him the chance of going back and having a “perfect” son without a disability or having Johnny…

“I’d take Johnny every time…”

So that gets us back to my Charlie….

Thanks for all the lessons in life Charlie

You always did everything right

I wish I could say that about myself, but I can’t

Charlie is going home to meet the Lord any day now, because it’s his time

Charlie was an angel that walked amongst us for a brief period of time who taught us all valuable lessons in life, and those that got a chance to bask in his glow, even for a brief time are better people for it.

I know I am

There is a lot I am going to miss about Charlie that I won’t detail here

But mostly I am just going to miss him….

Post Script

I amended this story and put it on the site on Wednesday evening.

Charlie went on to meet the Lord at ten o’clock in the morning on
Friday September 17th.

I mention this for a couple of reasons….

When I became a Christian I used to hear preachers and others talk
about “meeting” your departed loved ones and family at the gates of
heaven when you die.

That always bothered me because I didn’t have a family

There were nights I would think about that and wonder if heaven for me
would be like the first day in a new elementary school. That I would
be a little lost and not really know anybody.

You know, it’s funny what keeps us up some nights, isn’t it?

But I don’t have to worry about that now.

I know I will see Charlie’s smiling face when I get there.

RTR
MEB