The One About My Daddy
My Daddy was a singer. He led hymns from the pulpit while the piano or organ was playing nearly every Sunday morning of my growing up years. I can still hear his strong tenor voice in my head when we sing a hymn that he loved.
Every once in awhile, he would sing a solo. I would see the sheet music for “One Day at a Time” and know that it was solo Sunday. I’m not sure how many times I heard him sing this song in my nineteen years at home, but it was often.
I’m only human, I’m just a
woman Help me believe in what I could be And all that I am Show me the stairway, I have to climb Lord for my sake, teach me to take One day at a timeOne day at a time sweet JesusThat’s all I’m asking of You Just give me the strength To do everyday what I have to do Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus And tomorrow may never be mine Lord help me today, show me the way One day at a time
My Daddy was an alcoholic. And so, these words that he would sing carried the same emotions that the songwriter experienced. In a Google search I found that the writer, Marijohn Wilkin, wrote this during a particularly difficult time in her life. She could not admit that she was an alcoholic. It makes sense that my Daddy resonated so deeply with her words.
By the time I came around, he had been sober for many years. Miraculously saved by Jesus. After ten years of being drunk every day, he was at the end of his rope. He was having hallucinations and had attempted suicide. His mother had made the difficult decision to have him committed. The night before this was to happen, he stumbled upon a Billy Graham crusade on television. He remembers only one thing from that message- If you want your life changed, give it to Jesus and he’ll change it for you. He definitely wanted his life changed. So he prayed.
He never had a drink again. (He didn’t go to the institution either!).
I grew up hearing his stories. He would talk about being a wretch, a worm of a man and I would always secretly shake my head. Not my Daddy! He’s a prince among men. I didn’t get it. As I’ve grown and seen the heartbreak of addiction in others, I’ve begun to understand it a little bit more.
But I still didn’t grasp the ravages of alcoholism until I read Matthew Perry’s new memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. It is unsurprisingly well written, but shockingly honest and raw and heartbreaking. In his own words, his battle with alcoholism and drug addiction should have killed him. Again and again.
But somewhere along the way, he encountered God. Now he considers himself to be a seeker, because he is certain that God is real, but he isn’t sure that he has found him. He talks about the holes in his life and the extremes he went to in an attempt to fill them. He couldn’t accept love, because he believed that he could never be enough.
He talks about living life one day at a time and the parallels between his story and my Dad’s were clear. But the difference is also clear. Matthew Perry believes in God. Lance Mills was transformed by Jesus.
Only Jesus can fill the holes that we all have in our lives. Only Jesus can make us understand that we were never meant to be “enough”. He is the one who makes us worthy. He is everything! And when we understand this, we don’t need anything else. All of the holes are filled.
My Daddy’s favorite song to sing near the end of his life was “Give Me Jesus”. He knew the devastation of alcoholism. And he knew the hope of Jesus.
And so, my response to reading Perry’s memoir is to sincerely pray for this man to know Jesus. The One who fills our holes; the One who is more than enough.