On Halloween night 1998 I threw a party in my apartment at Virginia Tech. I was 20 years old and was in the wildest season of my life. I had three girl roommates, a live-in girlfriend, and I spent most of my spare time smoking weed, doing lines of cocaine, and drinking.
On that Halloween night, I was geared up for what I expected to be a good time. Because the party was going be so “unforgettable,” I invited an old friend from high school down for the weekend. Dave and I had played hoops and partied together over the years, so I was excited to see him.
When Dave arrived, I greeted him and escorted him back to my room where I proudly unveiled the welcome gifts I’d prepared for him. On my desk was a fat bag of weed, a 6’er of his favorite beer, and I told him I had a girl he could get to know for the weekend.
But Dave didn’t respond like I expected he would. Instead, he gently closed the door and sat on the bed. He looked me in the eyes and told me he didn’t do those things anymore. He said he’d become a Christian and that he loved Jesus now and the reason he came to the party was to tell me that Jesus loved me too.
I laughed him off.
For the rest of the night Dave stayed at the party with people going crazy all around him. Other friends came up and asked me what was up with my buddy and when I told them he was a Christian we’d all sneer and say “Oh, poor guy” like he’d caught a disease or something.
But as the night went on, my heart was uneasy.
In that room, with the music bump’n and laughter roll’n, I was haunted. As I looked at Dave, I saw he had a peace that no drink or high or lover could give. The party eventually ended, but the story was just beginning.
Over the next several days, Dave and I spoke about Jesus and about the Gospel. He gave me Scriptures to read and tried to answer my questions and endured my mocking. We spoke on the phone several times and exchanged emails. What follows is the family friendly version of an email I sent him about a week after his visit.
Dave, dude, we have to talk. Its great and all that you’re Mr. Religious now, but I want you to know I’m worried about you. I want you to be careful that you don’t go overboard and start getting all weird on me. I mean I know that going to church is a good thing and that God is real and all that, but if you don’t watch it you’re going to miss out on what life is really all about.
I know you are just trying to be a good boy and all, but when you came down here and wouldn’t drink, you looked like an idiot. I mean you were just sitting there with a cork in your mouth. What is wrong with you?