No One Is a Lost Cause
While most people use the word “addict” when referring to someone who is addicted, I do not. I never use the word “addict.” I think the word “addict” is all too often used as a label. I always say, “people who are addicted.” People who are addicted are people, not just addicts, and they have feelings, and hopes, and dreams—just like people who are not addicted.
I don’t think anyone should ever slap the label “addict” on a person, think he or she is a lost cause, and walk away. These are real people we are talking about, and no one is a lost cause.
California Drug Rehab
As I was waiting to give my son, Jonathan, a copy of my album, Wings of Glory: Songs of Hope and Healing from Addiction and my book, Wings of Glory: The Story behind the Songs, I visited with a gentleman who was acting as the receptionist at a drug rehab in California.
This man was a client who’d been in the program for a long time and was now on the last level before graduation. He was an older, black man with kind eyes and a cheery laugh. He went out of his way to be friendly and explained how their program worked. He reassured me that my son was in good hands and would get the help he needed while he was there.
I noticed he had a large, well-worn book on his desk that he’d been reading when I walked in. I asked him the name of his book and if it had anything to do with the program. He replied that it was called The Life Recovery Bible but it wasn’t part of the program. However, he said that twice a week he met with other clients to study its teachings together.
He then laughed and said, “Everyone tells me I need to get a new copy of this book because it’s so old, but this one was given to me years ago by a good friend who had read it for years himself. My friend is now dead, and every time I look at this book I remember how he took the time to teach me about Jesus. I’ve been carrying this book with me ever since the day he first gave it to me. I’ll never get rid of this book.”
I asked him if I could look at his book, and he carefully handed it to me and let me look through its pages. He told me where I could get a copy if I were interested, and I told him I would like to buy a copy for myself someday.
I then went into the director’s office and was told that Jonathan couldn’t have the album and book until he was on the next level. The gentleman I’d been speaking with was still sitting at his desk in the lobby, so I went over to him and said, “I brought this album and book that I wrote to give to my son, but he can’t have them right now. I was wondering if you would like to have them.”
He carefully took the album and book from my hands and read the titles out loud, “Wings of Glory: Songs of Hope and Healing from Addiction; Wings of Glory: The Story behind the Songs.”
He turned the album and book over and looked at my picture on the back of each one and then looked up at me and said, “You wrote these? You really want to give them to me? I would love to have them! Will you autograph them for me, please?”
No one had ever asked for my autograph before, and I felt a little bit embarrassed. He was making me feel like I was some kind of celebrity, which I was not. But he was so humble and sincere in his request that I took the pen that he was holding out to me and carefully signed them and gave them back to him. I then shook his hand as he thanked me profusely for my gift. As I walked out of the lobby, he put the Wings of Glory album in his CD player on his desk and began listening to it.
As my visit with Jonathan came to an end, I stood up to say goodbye, but then I saw the gentleman whom I had met in the lobby walk in and look around the room. When he spotted me, he quickly walked over and said, “I was hoping you hadn’t left yet because I need to talk to you for a minute.”
I saw that he had tears in his eyes and seemed quite emotional. He looked at me for a few moments and then hesitatingly began to speak, “I just finished listening to your Wings of Glory music and read your little book. I just want to thank you again for giving them to me. They’ve changed my life.”
He then handed me his special book, The Life Recovery Bible, and said, “I want you to have this.”
I was totally shocked and exclaimed, “Oh, no! You don’t need to give me anything! I know what this book means to you, and you should keep it. You have treasured it for years. Seriously, you don’t need to repay me in any way. I gave you my album and book as a gift. You don’t owe me anything in return.”
I Am a Poor Man
Haltingly he said, “I am a poor man. The only thing I own is this book. The reason I want you to have it is because your Wings of Glory music and book are incredible. They have transformed me. I never believed in myself before, but now I do. I feel I can go out and accomplish anything I want to in the future. You’re a special lady. I will feel honored if you will accept my book as my thanks to you.”
I started to cry as I took his precious book and held it in my hands. I looked in his gentle, tear-filled eyes and said, “If you really want me to have it, I will accept it. Thank you. I will always remember you when I read your book.”
I gave him a hug and said goodbye, and he slowly walked out of the room. Although I knew I would probably never see this wonderful man again, we had become friends. As I drove home, I felt overwhelmed as I thought about the significance of his gift to me. It had always been my hope that Wings of Glory would help other people besides those in my own family. Now I knew for sure that it would.
Excerpt from Wings of Glory Recovery Program.