Dave’s Story – Soul Food!
I look back over my childhood days and there was not much good in it. My parents were a very mixed-up couple. My father was a gambler and alcoholic but I really don’t remember much about him. I was told he threw me in a canal when I was a baby. I spent six months in a hospital and almost died from malnutrition and pneumonia. My mother had her own issues eventually divorcing my father and remarrying. My stepfather was a very abusive man, and it was a horrible life.
Growing up we never had food in the house. My brother and I would be so hungry, it would be pitiful. I would steal dog food from my stepfather’s garage. That is what I ate for food. I carried dog food in all four pockets.
While most kids walked around carrying candy in their pockets, my pockets were full of Purina Dog Chow. It was my breakfast, lunch and supper. Ironically the kids didn’t tease me about it because they knew how tough my brother and I had it.
My mother eventually left my stepfather, and we moved in with my grandparents for a while. Life was better but eventually my mother also faded out of the picture. I continued living with my mama and she would always have me reading the Bible. She told me, “If you read that Bible, some day it will make sense to you.”
As a teenager, I spent a lot of time trying to forget many things of my childhood. I left home when I was 13. By that time I had become an alcoholic and a drug addict. My life was very out of control. You may wonder how on earth that could happen at that age. Well at that time, marijuana was rampant and easy to come by.
I became homeless at thirteen. My grandparents loved me but they couldn’t help me because I couldn’t even help myself. I didn’t know that people could actually love you and care for you without hurting you.
As I grew older, I still had an addiction to drugs and alcohol. I wanted to do what was right but I couldn’t because I was in the bottle too much. I went into the National Guard and switched over to the regular Army. My addictions continued spinning out of control.
When my grandparents were gone, I realized I didn’t have anybody. I remember my mama telling me, “David you have to love people and let people in to help you from time to time. Whether you like it or not, everybody needs help at some time in their life. “
I would think about what my mama was trying to teach me and it all came to roost one glorious day when I was on my hands and knees crying out to God to come into my heart. That was twenty-two years ago and I just praise God for it all. He took it all away.
Recently, I spoke to a cousin I hadn’t spoken to for 35 years. The first question she asked was, “Dave, are you still eating dog food?” I told her no ma’am; I went from eating dog food to soul food!
Today, as the director at Crossroads, some might view me as tough, but I know what God can do for these men if they hang in there. I see a stage of my life in every man that walks in here and I know there is hope. I love seeing these men get what I got and watching their lives change. I thank God every day for the ministry he has given me. I know now that God had a purpose and plan for me.