My Friend Don

Nick MartineauBlog

About three months ago, a man named Don approached me after one of our church services. Don was a kind and gracious man, but by the look in his eyes you could tell he had lived a long and hard life. Don shared with me that he was invited to Hope by his neighbors and that this was his first visit. He shared that, unexpectedly, during the time of worship, he felt a peace and love he hadn’t felt in a long time. Don asked if we could meet because he had some questions about Jesus.

A few days later, I went to Don’s house. When I walked in, I counted eight guitars laid out in his living area. He sat me down and showed a few different music videos that explained some of his life, his beliefs, and the situation he was currently in. It only took a short conversation to see that Don was an intelligent man.

Don shared that he had been struggling with alcohol since he was a teenager. Early on in his life, alcohol was a fun escape, something that helped him socially, and something that helped him engage in his love of music. It wasn’t until later that Don realized he was an alcoholic. His drinking problem caused his divorce from the love of his life and ended up hurting almost every relationship he had ever had. It was heart-wrenching hearing Don confess all the things he knew he had screwed up because of alcohol.

One of my good Hope friends can relate to Don’s story, so I asked him to befriend Don. We started texting and visiting with Don whenever we could. Together, in a few short weeks, we had fielded hundreds of questions about faith, Jesus, and the afterlife as well as watched dozens of Don’s favorite music videos that he loved to share with us.

Don was still actively struggling with his addiction to alcohol, but this time he was engaging his faith and talking to Jesus about it.

In one of Don’s numerous text conversations, he wrote the following to my Hope friend:

“….I am an intellectual. I question everything. As a scientist, I analyze everything….Yet, I have made the leap of faith….I know that I am part of something much larger. Kurt Vonnegut wrote a book called the Sirens of Titan. In it, he describes a religion called the Church of the Utterly Indifferent. In that religion, God created everything, but doesn’t care what happens. I don’t subscribe to that ideology anymore. I absolutely know that there’s a power I can tap into to help me overcome (my struggles) and to walk through this phase of my life…I am a little complex but…I just need to manage my brain, accept my faith, and trust in Jesus…I look forward to the day we stand at the Lord’s alter together.”

A few days before Easter, Don passed away. Yet, just like the thief on the cross, Don recognized his own wreckage and turned to Jesus. Don has now fully overcome his struggles and is experiencing the peace and love that his heart has always longed for. Don taught me about grace, the importance of asking questions, and struggling through weakness with Jesus, and he gave me a new appreciation for obscure music videos.

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me..” (2 Cor. 12:9)