I find myself here on New Years Eve with my family. Well, half my family. Two of my sons are with their dad.
Oh they will both come home tomorrow. One, for the week and one for just the weekend.
It’s been a pretty good year, but has ended kinda sour. I’m not really sure what next year is going to look like for my son and I. But I’m growing my faith.
Tonight, I’m actually missing a friend. A friend who first taught me about starting over.
I met him nine years ago. It was right after first service and while my four little ones were still in their classes, I walked over to another building on campus. He met me on the path to Celebrate Recovery.
He was a bit older than me. Really tall. Fairly thin. Mighty scraggly. He looked like he had lived a pretty rough life. But there was joy in his eyes. They were kind. He smiled and said, “I’m glad you made it!”
I couldn’t respond. I started to weep.
I honestly don’t remember if he took my hand, or put his arm around me. But I remember him saying, “Ah, you’re in the right place.”
His name was Bill Newsome.
There are few people who I know that was as caring as him. And when I mean caring, I mean getting down in your yuck with you and lifting you up.
There was no shocking him. There was nothing and nobody too messy for him. He was all about starting over.
He owned a roofing company. And if I had to guess, I would say almost everyone he hired, he sponsored.
See, he had a rough life. He made some mistakes. Found himself in the muck and mud of his bad choices, and with the help of Jesus, was pulled out.
That’s why he wasn’t easily intimidated by other people’s junk. That’s why he wasn’t afraid to get dirty.
He’d pick someone up in the middle of the night for doing something they shouldn’t be doing and not condemn him. He’d say relapse is apart of recovery.
But he also knew if you weren’t serious about about getting straight. And well, he didn’t have much patience for that. He’d exercise grace but he was no fool.
He had a line he always would say that always put things in perspective. No matter what the circumstance. No matter what the issue or problem was. He’d say,
“We’re going to heaven. What else matters? ”
He would be so right.
Every year at New Year’s Eve, I think about my friend. Every year he would have a party.
It may have started off as a safe place for all his chemically dependent friends to stay sober, but I can tell you his parties grew to be much more than that.
He welcomed everyone. It didn’t matter your addiction. It didn’t matter your issue. Whether it was drugs or alcohol, codependency, love addiction, enabling, raging, or in denial. He accepted everyone.
He invited everyone to come, and celebrate starting over.
So, this is the second year without his New Year’s Eve party. He left this world about a year and a half ago to be with our Father.
He may have passed, but his words still live on. As I start this new year with my son I am reminded of two things…
We can start over, and “We’re going to heaven. What else matters?”
Miss you Mr. Bill. Looks like Jesus didn’t come this year, either.