La Hacienda's Treatment and Recovery Blog

Happy Thanksgiving 2019

Thankful Knowing Who is in Charge

By Art VanDivier, Executive Director

There are the usual things people say they are thankful for this season, but what about those who aren’t having such a good year? Is it possible to be thankful for both the good and bad things that are happening in our lives?

When I was hired by La Hacienda back in 2002, I temporarily worked in Dallas, assisting our marketing rep there. He was an interesting fellow.

I had just come out of corporate America, and he was anything but a clone in a blue suit. Bobby was a big guy with a gold star inlaid on his front tooth. He walked with a cane because he had an artificial leg. His had arms covered with prison tattoos and a booming voice.

While serving time in prison, Bobby made enemies. He was found by the prison guards, lying in a pool of blood from multiple stab wounds. He woke up about a week later in a hospital minus a leg but “glad to be alive.”

Bobby got out of prison, got sober, and dedicated his life to helping others.

Everyone Talked to Bobby

Though not “desirable” to many parts of society, he was loved by all he met. I witnessed judges, attorneys, doctors, and psychologists making time to spend time with Bobby. When these professionals had problems with clients, friends, or family members, they would call Bobby.

One day I was worried about something that, at the time, I thought was a big deal. Bobby noticed.

“What’s wrong, buddy,” he said, and I gave some lame reply.

“Oh,” he said, “I guess I didn’t get the email.”

“What email,” I replied.

“The one that said you were in charge.”

“What are you saying, Bobby?” I asked irritably.

“Art, haven’t you figured it out yet? You aren’t in charge. God’s in charge.”

“When I was lying in that hospital bed, the doctors told me I lost so much blood that I should be dead. They had no explanation why I was still alive.”

“At that point, I decided God must be in charge because I hadn’t done such a good job myself,” continued Bobby.  

Thankful for What Came

And that is how he lived his life. Bobby didn’t have much. He lived in a one-room apartment, was divorced, and didn’t get to see his adored daughter often enough. But he was one of the happiest individuals I have ever known.

He was thankful every day for whatever came his way, and I will never forget him.

After I moved to Hunt, Bobby would call me. I would pick up the phone and say, “Hey, Bobby.”

“Just calling to remind you God’s in charge,” he would say, then hang up.

God, I loved that guy!

Regardless of your circumstances, I hope you find great joy this Thanksgiving because you know who is in charge.


Art VanDivier, Executive Director, La Hacienda Treatment Center
Art VanDivier

Art VanDivier has been Executive Director of La Hacienda Treatment Center since 2002.