‘The Edsels in my life’

Our Catch today is going to come by way of one of our members, Drew Snider, a pastor from Vancouver, B.C. who founded and helps facilitate a ministry in downtown Vancouver that provides free showers for those on Skid Row.

th-2I’ll name one of the “Edsels” in my life, because he had such an impact on me. His name was Peter Hegan, and everybody — and I mean that in the context that EVERY SINGLE PERSON I KNEW — rejected him.

Pardon me: his adoptive mother didn’t reject him. His adoptive father was totally ashamed of him. Peter was hyperactive, deliberately disobedient to everyone, smoked and drank at an early age (8) and said outrageously crude things. He also became one of my best friends. My mother had encouraged me to “be different,” and in some ways, befriending Peter was a way of doing that. But it was also one of the most powerful friendships I’ve had. Around 7th grade, Peter disappeared from school, and then around 10th grade, he re-surfaced. He had spent a few years in some kind of reformatory, where he kept up his schoolwork and battled a drug problem. Then, “I woke up one morning and said, ‘Pete, you are one f**ked up kid!’” He found his salvation in two basic areas: music and the Bible.

Eventually, he went to California and studied guitar under Vicente Gomez, and Biblical references crept into his songwriting. He constantly encouraged (or badgered) me to read the Bible, particularly the Books of the Kings (and it was a good 25 years before I realized why — the account of the floating axe-head likely spoke into his life, and it’s been a recurring theme for me over the years, too). We jammed together, and some of the greatest moments of joy were in listening to what Pete brought to my songs and I did for his.

Little by little, other people around Pete started recognizing his strange genius and his value, but he never quite shook the drug habit or the rebelliousness. One day in 1990, he went into a motel room in Grant’s Pass, Oregon, and ended his life.

Unlike the 6,000 prized Edsels today, Pete was one who sent himself to the wrecking yard. Your “Catch” should be a reminder to us all to let people know, as often and as loudly and as clearly as possible, that sometimes, they’re the only ones who see an Edsel in the mirror.

The only adjustment I would make to this would be to point out that Drew saw an Edsel too, it’s just that he grew to love them. Turns out it’s his favorite car. Right Drew? And I can’t help but think that Peter helped get you ready for the work you are doing now. My guess is that there is a high percentage of Edsels on our inner city streets, in our prisons and mental institutions.

This tells me there may be more Edsel stories out there. I encourage you to send me yours.

I also want to point out that a number of people are taking advantage of the New Covenant teaching videos we are posting. I hope more of you will take advantage of this opportunity. Cynthia writes: “I have listened to three so far and it is like getting new glasses. My perception is clearer and my heart is filled.”

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4 Responses to ‘The Edsels in my life’

  1. There’s another aspect to Edsels worth noting. When it was still in the design stages, the Ford Motor Company approached the poet, Marianne Moore, to come up with a name for this highly advanced car. (The last chapter of “A Marianne Moore Reader” is called “The Ford Correspondence,” and it’s the exchange of letters with the company.) The fact that she suggested names like “Fabergé” suggests she was quite taken with the design. But not every car buyer thinks like poet.

  2. greg Krejci says:

    Last year we took on an Edsel and really got burned. The guy was working and going to school trying to get his GED. But due to circumstances we thought were beyond his control he lost his place to live. We let him come and live with us and within two weeks, he quit school, got fired from work, took up a place on our couch in front of his comuter and never moved from it. Would not look for work, would not help out at our home and in the end we had to make him leave because he was getting violent.

    • jwfisch says:

      Yes, this happens sometime. And you do need to protect yourself if violence is involved. However you also never know how God might use this experience in this person’s life down the road as they remember back to some kindness they experienced in your home — some evidence of the presence of God.

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