Letter: Walks with Royal meant more

Royal Cutler, Jr. of Delmar recently passed away at the age of 94. He became like a father to me and took me on a 30-year walk of faith…

Dear Royal,

You were always up for a stroll in your neighborhood and that metaphorically defined our relationship. You allowed me the privilege of walking side by side with you for three decades. There were many times when you figuratively slowed down with the patience of a father holding the hand of his child who was often distracted by lesser things.

As you recall, our journey began at a Glenmont church. At first, you were simply the man with the understanding blue eyes that had been fashioned by faith and tempered by time. I eventually got up the courage to ask you to “walk” me through the Old Testament, which had become a bit of a stumbling block in my spiritual studies.

You graciously agreed even though you could have left that block of time open to pursue your many interests that retirement now afforded you. I serendipitously became one of those interests.

Our weekly meetings in your living room morphed into much more than a bible study. You were adept at getting me to see how the scriptures could apply to my challenges-du-jour.

When we started, I was in my twenties and still trying to find the road up the mountain of maturity. You skillfully and patiently seemed to call, “Hey, it’s this way.” I would try to catch up.

Years turned many of our conversations into “walks and talks” through the Normanside Country Club neighborhood and my love for you as a dad deepened with each footstep.

I don’t think I ever idolized you, but I sure admired your incredible knowledge of the scriptures and the accompanying practical application of your faith. In the bible, the apostle Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV). You certainly became that kind of a role model.

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