Fight the New Drug

Fight the New Drug Video: My porn recovery story

***To see my featured talk "How Love Defeats Porn" given at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C. click here. ***

Thursday, January 24, 2013

So I was having dinner with Tony Melendez and..

Mimi and I were geared up to go to our first Pre-Cana meeting with our new priest Fr. Dan at St. Andrew the Apostle this evening---until he canceled on us.

"You know, we could have this marriage prep meeting right now," as he said walking into his office where we were waiting for him, "or y'all could join us for dinner with Tony Melendez."

"Uhh..." we both look at each other, not really sure how to respond to that.

Fr. Dan continues. "I mean, c'mon, how many times do we all get to talk an armless guitar player.  I mean, the Pope kissed the man!"

I don't think we had a say in the matter, but he didn't have to twist my arm too much.  I knew exactly who Tony Melendez was as I've been to a couple of his concerts, an inspiration to me and many as he plays guitar better with his two feet than I can with my own hands.

And we walked into the dining room and there he is, Tony Melendez with his crew and all.  And it was just like having dinner with any one else, a very joyful guy, he and his brother Jose and drummer and classical guitarist Roland, laughing a lot and cheerful.

It was a pleasure to get to hear about their travels, their families, and the balance they have to carry (sometimes they're on the road 15-20 times a month).

What was even more humbling was the way in how much they were interested in us, Mimi and me, the new couple who is about to get married.  I've noticed this to be a sign of successful people I know---they are genuinely interested in you as you are in them.

Tony and me
Probably the best part of the night for me was when Tony came back to the table and I got to pick his brain a little bit just me and him.  I asked him how he keeps it going, both prayerfully and practically.  He told me some insightful things that I'll have to reflect about including how "the Devil is a pain in the butt" and how when he is attacked, we have to lift it up to God.  In particular, he caught me with words saying how sometimes we have to make the hard decisions of "choosing God before our families" referencing that sometimes he wishes he could be with his wife and children, but God is calling him to be somewhere for just a little bit longer.

"Look at the disciples," he said. "When Jesus said, 'Come, follow me,' they all did.  They all had families, too."

He was telling me that every day we have to get up and do it all over again always discerning what is coming from God.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm swimming somewhere," he said, referencing God's will, "and I'm not sure where or why I'm going.  But He tells me, just do it. And I do."

Then somehow, we got to talking about my blog and what I write about and I was humbled to hear how he's interested in reading up on it, as he continued to ask me questions especially when we got to the topic about pornography.

All of a sudden our sit down dinner at 7:45ish ended at 10:22 p.m when I checked my watch again.  Where did the time go?

God, I want to thank you for this night.  It was exactly what I needed to feel like St. Andrew's was going to be my new community (we got to meet some very cool people who were also at the table, including Joshua the youth minister and some of the other women involved with the rectory).

It was also a God-send to get to speak to Tony---it has given me the lift that I need to keep writing because people will keep reading, despite what I think and what the Devil may be whispering to me.  Lord, I pray for the ministry of Tony Melendez and his crew, that they may continue to do Your will in the people they reach and in their own families.  I ask for the peace and joy I saw in this man to be with me, too.



  1. Matt you rock! Keep up the good work buddy. I'm so happy for you and Mimi and this is an amazing story. I'm pretty sure I saw him in '02 at the Toronto WYD (oh yes and that man they call Blessed? JPII? :) )

    As a "grown up" who has finally resigned completely to being a grown up, that is one of the most "surprising" (duh, shouldn't be!) things - we keep discerning and accepting His Will Daily bread. Trust-surrender-believe-RECEIVE (the good part!!). It wasn't just about being a college student and finding your way once-and-for-all. Phew - being a Christian is not for the faint at heart! :)

    Pax et Bonum,

  2. Thanks for the reflection, Lauren! Somewhere I read as kid that the farther up we climb a mountain, the tougher. So true!

    But you're right. Daily bread. RECEIVE. We've got something going for our side to keep us solid. Let's keep the good fight!

    Paz y Bien,