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Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 16

The Long and Winding Road, 1978 to 1988. I had made mistakes. Plenty of them. I was about to reap what I had sown. No one could’ve known what would lie in the path ahead. It had to be lived out. Experienced. There were no shortcuts. Thus far this period has turned out to be the worst in my life, next to the death of my first born and his first born as well. More on that incident later.


Staying focused on this period for the time being, it would get much more difficult than anything I could’ve imagined. I remember a few times that stand out in my mind. Sheer misery. One night, shortly after returning home, I felt torn between my past life and the unknown future. I was writhing in my skin. I wanted to do things I shouldn’t. I literally had to rip myself away from my recent past. It would not have been impossible without divine intervention.


Let me recount a few instances, times when I thought I could’ve died inside. First, I’ll tell you of the night that I lie all night on the bathroom floor weeping. I was so emotionally devastated, and I had hurt so many people, including myself, but especially my wife. I’m not sure exactly what happened. But I woke up in the morning light and with the realization that I had just passed out, not from drugs or alcohol, from emotional bankruptcy. I’m reminded of a Bob Dylan song and a particular verse: “I’ve been broken, shattered like an empty cup. I’m just waiting on the Lord to rebuild and fill me up.” That was me; he could have taken the words right out of my mouth.


There was also an eternal moment in time, in my brother’s living room, where I fell to my knees and said to myself, “It’s hopeless.” Yet again, precisely when necessary, a voice echoed back into my dismal space: “Put your hope in me and it’s never hopeless.” Bible verses and words like those are what got me through. I was hoping in (for) all sorts of things. I was hoping for a car. I was hoping for a home. I was hoping for a steady job. I was hoping to put the past behind me. I was hoping for a better day ahead. But, I was not hoping in the Lord. I used that verse to get over the hump. It’s actually not a specific verse. It’s just a line that is made up of truth and is kind of written throughout the Scripture. Hope in the Lord. In that particular situation I was without a job, without a vehicle, without money, without a home, without most anything, and my wife was pregnant.


People, numerous individuals made up of friends and family, asked how they could help. They could see us struggling and sincerely attempting to reconcile and get back on our feet. They would ask me how they could help. I honestly didn’t have any answers. It was complicated. Giving us money helped but the money just ran out. A car would help, but I didn’t have money for gas or a full-time job to go to. Rebuilding would prove extremely complex. I needed a miracle, I needed help no one could provide. Nobody, except somebody with a very big picture view of the maze I needed to find my way through. Guess who?


It was the supernatural power behind the voice that I tended to get more and more familiar with. My mind wanted to wander, wondering about all of the what-ifs. What if this happens, or that? What if I never get out of this mess? In addition to being broke, I was bankrupt and owed the IRS tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid payroll taxes. That resulted in a lien on me and my future earnings. Little did I know that a decade later, when I was finally able to start addressing that debt and the consequent penalties, I contacted the IRS and lo and behold, they said that there was no record of the debt. All along it had been showing up on my credit report. Where did it go? It was completely forgiven, not by them, by heaven and everywhere on earth. Gone! Through that period, I wrote this piece of poetry:


Where was God this morning, what did He do first?


My friend while you were yawning, He was tending the universe.


Counting up somebody’s hair, watching some sparrow fall.


Answering your very next prayer, even before you call.


It’s a big God we serve, but we treat Him way too small.


I’m gonna have to treat Him like He deserves, if I’m gonna serve Him at all.  

Doug Bellamy is former president of Innovative Drywall Systems Inc. dba Alta Drywall, Escondido, Calif. Contact him at

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