32 Years Ago…

today I was tossed in the back of a White Bear Lake, MN, squad car and hauled off to Ramsey County Detox. I was depressed, lonely, afraid, angry, and medicating my world with beer.

It was a hard time. Hard to hear my friend say he wouldn’t take me in and my parents say they didn’t want me at home either. There were so many questions and so few answers. There was trouble and very few safe places for refuge. There was so much to learn but it looked like time was short.  I was hurting people and hurting myself. All I wanted was to have my mind and heart and soul be at rest for just a minute and drinking was as close to that as I could get.

God knows that I wouldn’t want to do all those days over again and God also knew they were necessary if anything good was going to come of me. The first thing that had to go was the drinking. It was like pouring gas on a fire. Then each year unfolded and I learned more and grew more and somehow have made it to today. Outside of things related to the Eucharist I haven’t had anything to drink for 32 years today.

The glory is all God’s. His was the grace the unraveled my knots and continues to do so. His was the love that sustained and showed itself to me in all the people who came to my aid. His was the peace that helped me through some very hard valleys. His was the life that would not let me go, even when I wanted to die.

My being a Priest is, in part, something I felt I needed to do, a service of gratitude for a life that was spared from what could have been much worse. Whatever else happens in my life I pray that I will always be faithful to the God who was and is faithful to me in ways I cannot even imagine.

From time to time I’ve thought about what it would be like to lift  that beer or crack open a bottle. Sometimes when I’m tired and frustrated I just want to erase my mind with the stuff.  Yet I’ve got better things to live for, higher goals to attempt, and a home with the Lord who loves me at the end of it all.  This helps me through. This makes it all worthwhile.

No looking back. It’s all good. Thank you God. Thank you family. Thank you friends. I’m alive, more alive now than I’ve ever been and it’s getting better each day.

And the joy…

Long My Imprisoned Spirit Lay,
fast Bound In Sin and Nature?s Night;
thine Eye Diffused A Quickening Ray;
I Woke, The Dungeon Flamed With Light;
my Chains Fell Off, My Heart Was Free,
I Rose, Went Forth, And Followed Thee.
my Chains Fell Off, My Heart Was Free,
I Rose, Went Forth, And Followed Thee.

3 thoughts on “32 Years Ago…

  1. Its always interesting to me when a man turns down one path and finds himself somewhere completely different years later. Great job.


  2. You certainly were meant for greater things, and God lifted you up from the depths. Thank God for YOU. 🙂 I’m proud that you were able to face and overcome your demons. Some of us never do. Love to you!!!


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