My name is Patti.
I am your neighbor. I am a sister, I’m a granddaughter. I’m a mother. I’m a daughter, I’m a child of God, I’m a Christian. In all of that – I am you and you are me.
There was a time in my life those weren’t true. I was separated from you, from me, and from God. I was without roots and without wings.
April 10, 2012 — The night before Easter Sunday.
I knew my 19 year old son had relapsed after almost a year in recovery. (I, too, was in recovery from alcohol.) I knew he was at his drug dealer’s house and I knew that I could do nothing about it. I had reached the end of all that I could do for my son.
That Saturday night I started to pray to a God — that I didn’t know; and, to a Christ — that I didn’t believe in:
“Lord, protect my child… Lord, protect my child.” Over and over, like the pulsing of my heart: “Lord, protect my child”… from 6:00 p.m. until midnight… over and over: “Lord, protect my child”.
A little after midnight — now Easter Sunday, I dropped to my knees; for the first time in my life, pleading: “Lord, protect my child”.
I got up from my knees, walked over to the big bay window in my second floor bedroom, and stared out. This God whom I had not needed (since I believed I was too smart; most privileged, and very successful) spoke to me in a real and audible voice: “Will you give it all away?” I said: “No, I’ve done enough.”
The autopsy papers said that he died about 3:00 a.m. He had fallen asleep driving over the bridge into Chapman. His car flipped down the hill and he drowned in the river.
If I had had faith at the time, I believe now that my faith would have been obscured by the calamity. Instead, the doors of faith flew open. I saw that God took my son and is protecting him now.
Everything happens for a reason…
Prior to my first year of sobriety I found a coin which had a great saying on it. The coin was much like the ones handed out in 12 Step groups. I thought I’d eventually give it to someone as a gift at the time of my own birthday of my first year of sobriety, as a way to share my own celebration. I left it in the drawer until the months turned into years.
On the day of my son’s funeral, my family was waiting for me; but I could neither move, nor breathe. Staring into the mirror, I did not have the strength to take that next step.
Suddenly, I remembered the coin. I thought that if I put it in my pocket and gave it to someone at the funeral that I would then find the strength to move and to breathe. I dug the coin out of my pocket.
It read: “When you come to the edge of all you know, you must believe in one of two things: There will be earth upon which to stand or you will be given wings.”
Roots and wings!! That coin was meant for me… I knew it then!
I had finally come to the end of all I knew. The doors of my faith flew open for weeks and months. The miracles were all around me. I knew that I was in God’s hands with only two footprints in the sand.
“Yes, God, I will give it all away.”
The beginning of The Cedar House… the seed planted by God where roots began to grow.
For $10.00/hour, I hired people from the recovery meeting halls and others fresh out of jail to rebuild the house where I raised by two boys. During the first year the house was provided with a new roof, new paint, new deck, new carpets, appliances and furnishings.
During the second year people started showing up who wanted to help write the programs, the rules and procedures.
May 2014 we opened our door to the first resident.
We have grown and we continue to grow. The volunteers who are now on the Board of Directors of The Cedar House are working members of this team. In addition to giving of time, of talent, each brings one’s faith which continues to turn the seed that was planted by God as roots into wings for the women and the community we serve.
While my son Riley and I were designing my current home, we bought an old school house in the country to re-purpose the bricks into my home. The façade of that school had two 3 foot x 3 foot stone wings that we decided to incorporate into the design of the house. We placed the wings facing our old home, and called them our recovery wings, since it was our dream to convert our old home into a sober living home.
And this is who we are today: Riley included!