From Heartbreak and Hunger to New Hope
Red Door E-Newsletter – October 2012
“When I finally met the single biggest trial of my life – my wife leaving – I folded like a lawn chair.”
David came to The Bowery Mission for one simple reason — hunger. But his hunger started long before he ended up on New York City’s streets.
David had an addicted mother, who died when he was 13. He began using methamphetamines at age 16 and his father threw him out.
He survived on his own in Texas for years, finally finding work, getting a girlfriend, and having a baby girl. Looking into his baby’s eyes, he swore he wouldn’t use drugs again. But near his daughter’s first birthday, “I ran out of strength,” David admits. His girlfriend wouldn’t tolerate his meth use now with a child, so she left.
That was David’s wake-up call. He joined a program, got clean, and found God. He was thrilled when his girlfriend and child returned, seeing it as “a miracle.” The couple married and moved to upstate New York.
David’s life was “perfect.” But he was too busy to see his wife’s growing unhappiness.
“One day I came home, and she had all her stuff and my daughter’s stuff packed,” David sadly recalls. David fell into despair.
“I was angry with God. It was like He gave them back to me just so He could take them away. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I was tormented by the pictures on the walls.” David turned to marijuana again to self-medicate his pain.
To escape his memories, David desperately packed a bag, his money and left his job for New York City. He had no plan — just a broken, angry heart. He’d survived the
streets before, and thought he could again. But just as he arrived, David was robbed.
He survived two months on peanut butter snacks from Wall Street protesters. His 140- pound frame shrank to a frail 100 pounds. Concerned activists gave him a list of shelters and food lines. The Bowery Mission was closest.
After weeks of near-starvation, David “got a really good meal! I was like, wow!”
Returning to the Mission for meals, food wasn’t all he found a taste for.
“I started getting a taste of the peace that I had — peace that says, ‘No matter what happens, I got you.’
A month into the program, David sees why he fell apart. His faith seemed solid. But he says, “the most important 16 inches (distance from head to heart), I don’t think I got.” Lacking maturity, “when I finally met the single biggest trial of my life — my wife leaving — I folded like a lawn chair.”
Now, David’s alive again. He says, “I’ve got some joy, and I’m actually joking around with people and having fun … I can sleep, I can eat, I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’m regaining hope.”
David is proof that one meal can lead to a brand-new life. Please give again this Thanksgiving and help others find healing and hope, beginning the moment they pass through our red doors.