Imagine my surprise when Mary quietly said, “I am in recovery.”
My day had been fairly typical up to the point I heard these words. I was working the Lake Park section of our community, calling churches, and asking for permission to drop off material supporting the Road Less Traveled program. I always try to speak to the Pastors. This had resulted in several productive meetings.
I had just a few more calls to make before heading back to the office for a marketing meeting. A church secretary named Mary answered the phone. She had a sweet, cheerful voice with an Aunt “B”-esque quality about it. The image in my mind was of a little, white-haired lady licking envelopes for the church office.
When I walked into the church office my image of her was confirmed. Mary was a 70-something, elderly saint who serves her small, local church as the secretary. Everything in the office was outdated with a musty smell. There were no computers–everything was done by typewriter. I shared my material, and on my way out the door Mary quietly said, “I am in recovery.”
What? My first thought was that she had misunderstood me and was recovering from something like hip surgery. She replied, “Pastor Mike, I am an alcoholic and a drug user.” Imagine my surprise…. “Please, tell me your story.”
Mary drank and used for over 30 years. She went into treatment and was clean for 17 years. Then she went to a friend’s local church that served communion using real wine. That thimble sized communion cup of wine awakened an unquenchable thirst from the darkest parts of her soul. She ended up drinking and using for the next four years. Finally, she went to treatment one more time and now has been clean for 10 years.
I thanked her and prayed with her. We said our warm goodbyes. The last thing she said struck home … “This disease is no respecter of persons.”
By Pastor Mike Eleveld – Outreach Pastor