David appeared in my doorway one day last week.
He had been gone for several months, until about three weeks ago when he returned to do some volunteer work and "catch up" with everyone in our community. It was good to see him back and we had enjoyed a brief visit or two since his return.
But when I looked up to see him standing at the door, I knew something was wrong.
"I just found out that my dad died," he told me quietly.
"I wonder if I can use a phone to call home?" he asked.
I told him of course he could use the phone and for as long as he needed it. He went into our little conference room where he could talk and not be interrupted or disturbed.
A few minutes after he left my office, I walked past the room where he was sitting.
He had his head in his hands. He was all alone.
I went in and sat down beside him to tell him again how sorry I was about his father.
As I put my hand on his shoulder, David's life came flooding out.
"I talked to my dad about two weeks ago. I didn't even know he was sick," he explained through his tears.
"We didn't always see eye-to-eye, you know? But I loved him," David sobbed.
As we sat together, David told me the story of his life. I'd heard parts before, but nothing like what he shared this time.
Drugs, crime, prison, violence, a fairly good living dealing, estrangement form his brothers and, at times, his dad.
The pain was so fierce.
He told me that about five years ago he had "given his life to Christ" and things had gotten much better "inside." He had endured homelessness and unemployment largely because his criminal record blocked him at every legitimate turn and his new found faith prevented him from going back to his old life.
David is a pure heart.
A sweet, sweet guy who has been to hell and back in his life.
David's story reminded me that anyone can change directions.
He made his plans to go to the funeral in Oklahoma. I expect to see him this week when he returns.
He has become a very important part of the "family" around here.
As we talked last week and since then, as I thought of him and his loss, it became really clear to me that everyone needs a community, a family that has the capacity to miss a person when he is gone and to welcome a person back when he returns home.
In most cases life boils down to that very simple, very essential reality, doesn't it?
The next time someone asks me what we do here at Central Dallas Ministries, I think I'll tell them about David.
Announcement from Duke Memorial UMC
1 week ago