I don’t know how anybody could have not seen this video by now, but just in case you missed it, please have a look.
As a former radio disk jockey, I love to hear Ted Williams talk. He has amazing “pipes,” as they say in the biz. But it’s not just his golden voice that makes people root for him. It is his honesty and gentle humility. The moment he admits, with a note of regret in his voice, his drug and alcohol problems and that he’s been clean for two years is the moment we start to care about him. We want to see him use his voice talent to succeed. The opportunities he has been offered – jobs and even mortgages – demonstrate that. (Blogger and pastor Sam Barrington explores this further. Check it out.)
But I’m concerned that he is getting too much too fast, and that he won’t be able to handle it.
Before my church congregation became homeless, we owned a large house. It was on our church property. We used it as part of a ministry, letting people facing hard times live there to get back on their feet. I lived in it for more than a year during and after my divorce. But nine times out of 10, this ended up not really helping. I remember one family badly damaged by drug abuse who moved in. It did help stabilize them initially. But soon they were very comfortable in that house. It oversatisfied their hunger and killed any drive they had to make their lives better. Soon, the drugs returned. It ended badly.
That story is typical of the families who passed through that house. You could argue they needed more than a place to live — they needed strong coaching and mentoring, and they needed there to be the usual natural consequences for bad choices. My congregation made some attempts to coach and mentor, but we weren’t fully equipped for it. And living in the house removed some of those natural consequences – there was always a comfortable home to return to.
If we had it to do over again, we would have made living in the house contingent on a number of expectations – getting and keeping a job, paying rent (on a sliding scale), handling their money well, and staying drug- and alcohol-free. To help them accomplish these things, we would have hooked them up with help available in the community, such as addiction treatment, financial counseling, and job training.
I’m delighted to see Ted Williams so clearly enjoying his glorious moment in the sun. I want him to win! But I’m worried that when the rush is over, he will lack what it takes to make it. I believe he means every word of what he says about getting his life back on track. The families who moved into our house said similar things and meant them, too. But when you’re coming from a position as challenging as Ted’s, my experience has been that people who make it work hard, earn their way incrementally, and have good people behind them. May he be given the help he probably needs.