A few years later my brother got married to a high school sweetheart and moved one town away with his new bride. My brother and I both battled addiction for many years, I got sober a few years before he did. My brother divorced and remarried during his alcoholism. He had two sons with the first wife. My sister also divorced after having three daughters, remarried, had tree more daughters, divorced again, and then married her third husband.
I noticed when I was young, we were a family unit; we had dinner together every night, we had rules and structure to follow. It seemed as we all grew older that the world changed in a bad way, the family unit was a thing of the past, no more dinners as a family, no more following rules or structure. The world became a place for self will run riot, or at least it seemed that way to me. All of the sudden kids were carrying weapons to school and it seemed as if the world was going crazy.
There was no more talking face to face with your friends or playing sports, it became Facebook, PlayStation, fax machines, cell phones, Twitter, texting, paging, Facebook messaging, drugs were on every corner, kids were overdosing all over, the world we all knew growing up was gone. Where did values, honor, and respect go?
I’ll never forget, one day my father was in a grocery store pushing a carriage when he was in his late sixties, he bumped into the back of a twenty-year old guy in front of him by accident. The guy was insulting my father and ready to take a swing at him until my brother and I came around the corner. Then the coward turned tail and left. My brother and I just looked at each other and shook our heads!
Twenty years ago, my mother, my father, a family friend, and myself decided to open a residential recovery ministry in Pennsylvania. We were blessed to be able to help thousands of individuals and families during that time. My mother passed five years ago, my father is now eighty-seven years old, and I am disabled in a wheelchair. Sadly, due to the economy and lack of funds and staff we decided to close last year. My father has to go into a nursing home which he did not want to do but it was that time. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of my parents that they gave the ends of their lives to serve others. I now have moved into a small apartment with my dogs and know that I gave the better part of my life in service over the past twenty years. Many of us sacrificed for the good of others.
It makes me sad knowing what an amazing and talented woman my mother was; yet, she never received any public recognition for the sacrifices and service she committed to for so many years in her golden years. I watched her struggle with horrible arthritis, as she pushed back the pain to carry the message of hope to the guests at the ministry. She loved each and every soul that came to our doors for help; she was tough though and showed the guests how to live with balance and structure. She brought that same intense love that our family grew up with to the ministry; she made it a family!
I remember my father working long hours installing new baseboard heating until he could barely walk. He would be up and down ladders fixing this and fixing that all day long, seven days a week. He too had bad arthritis in his legs. My parents never asked for any recognition or awards for all the lives they helped save and change, nor did I; that’s not why we did the work. We did the work because we were called to it. We did it because we loved helping people.
I was writing on my computer the other night; the time had gotten away from me; it was late. I was feeling pretty down about the whole circumstance. Starting to feel quite alone and depressed. God works in mysterious ways, I think most of us know this by now. Out of the blue I received a Facebook message from a former guest who asked me how things were going? I shared all the current news with him and this is how he replied to me: “I’m sorry to hear this news, a lot of us owe our lives to you. You did an amazing thing for a long time!”
I noticed a pattern, whenever I start to feel defeated, or worn out and tired, sad and overwhelmed, where my batteries are just drained of life, God always sends just the right message from the right person to recharge my spirit and get me back on track. Life is hard work! I also found out that there are some very mean spirited individuals in this world and no matter what you do, you can never do enough to please them, they will gossip about you, say mean spirited things, and attack you to character assassinate you and the truth is they don’t really even know you, because if they did, they would not be doing what it is that they do.
The truth is, our ministry was never a building or buildings, it was the people and will always be the people. It will live on in the hearts, minds, memories, and actions of all those who were touched by the love and care of all of the special people who carried the message and torch of hope for two decades. So, no, New Beginning Ministry is not closed, it is reborn! Just some old warn out buildings will get some long overdue rest now and perhaps some old warn out people as well.
Be Blessed and carry the message of hope and life forward family and let them all know how much love heals all things. A new day, a New Beginning!
© 2017 Rev. Dr. Kevin T. Coughlin Ph.D.