The Butterfly Effect states that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings on one side of the Earth can create a tidal wave on the other. Today, I got to see the most marvelous, living example of this and cannot get a moments rest until I share it with you. When loving people are able to take monumental, personal tragedy and rise up, a tsunami begins.
My experience on the journey of personal recovery and transformation has placed people in my life that I would not have had the privilege and honor of meeting had we not gone through similar tremendous loss and heartbreak. I will start with Adam. I never personally knew him, but sadly he left this world far too soon when he lost the battle with addiction. However, when he departed, his family was left with a choice. They could take the weight of grief and let it destroy them, or they could take the pieces of their broken hearts and build an empire. His mother, Gail, with the help of her son Patrick, began to go about the heavy task of offering a ladder of hope out of the hole that others had found themselves in. She is the only woman I know who will answer her phone and bring complete strangers to a shelter, detox, rehab, or wherever she can at any time of day or night. Since Adam passed a few years ago, she and her family have helped countless souls find a solid foundation with which to build a life of remarkable joy and freedom free from the grips of addiction.
I was one of the recipients of her assistance when I had nowhere to turn. As tragic as it was to lose her son, his loss became a chance for myself and hundreds of others. Had she crawled into a hole of despair, there is a good chance I would not be here today to share her story, be a father to my own children, and be here to serve others in the same way she helped me. It takes one butterfly to start a slight breeze and in turn cause a hurricane that can’t be stopped.
Now, I will tell you about another man I never knew but wish I had the chance to meet. His name was King. He also succumbed to his demons not too long ago, and like Adam left a loving family with a giant hole. His two sisters, Sue and Anne, began a crusade, King’s Crusade, almost immediately after his death. After meeting them today, I know that as devastating as it was to lose him, their purpose was designed by God through their brother. Sue and Anne have a peace about them that I couldn’t possibly describe to you. They are warm, loving , and open about their struggle. I explained to Sue that although it hurts tremendously, their cross to bear is this movement because they are the only ones who could do it without effort. To paraphrase from Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonky and the Chocolate Factory,” “You don’t ask a fish how it swims or a bird how it flies.” They do it because they were born to do it. Since King passed, they too started flapping their wings and today was the beginning of a Butterfly Effect that is going create a storm. Though I never knew him, the sisters’ example made me feels as if I had. They began planting seeds in our community by planning an expo to address the addiction epidemic everywhere. Today it happened and that was just the start. We may never actually know how many were helped by today’s event, but I know how many wouldn’t have been had it not ever occurred. Zero.
I don’t try to understand why God does what He does. Nor do I know why some people die from the same affliction that others survive from. However, recent events have given me the insight to know that none of this happens by mistake. I know that King, Adam, and all of the other lost loved ones would’ve wanted it this way. I met many folks who have buried their children in recent months today, and they are the true heroes. I thanked another man named Steve today for getting up, suiting up, and showing up. He buried his son Max recently, and he too has decided to build a bridge instead of burning one down.
I am eternally grateful to have experienced the Butterfly Effect today, and cannot wait to see what comes next. If the message of hope shared today helps one person break free from the bondage of addiction, then the senseless wreckage that addiction leaves in its wake will not be in vain.