Saving Trent Dilfer’s LifeSeptember 17, 2012
In April of 2003, Trent Dilfer’s 5-year-old son, Trevin, died of heart disease. Dilfer, the backup quarterback for the Seahawks, was so despondent that he thought he had no reason to keep playing football, and little reason to live.
Fast forward 9 years to an awkward moment on Monday Night Football, Trent Dilfer said, “Matthew Hassselbeck saved my life.”
“[Hasselbeck was] walking me through the most difficult time of my life. I mean I was a mess,” Dilfer said, via USA Today. “I’ll be very transparent. I mean I was 265 pounds and drinking myself to sleep. I’m depressed, my wife’s going, ‘What’s going on?’ And it’s that guy, Matthew Hasselbeck, that says, ‘This is over. I love you too much to let you do this to yourself. You need to come back up to Seattle.’ And I credit Matthew Hasselbeck for the type of father I am, the type of husband I am, because he really saved my life in 2003.” You can read more about it here.
I loved this story for two reasons. One, I’m a beaten-up Seahawks fan. It’s great to hear about former players, and learn what kind of people they are off the field. It’s nice when your favorite players make the headlines for the right reasons.
Second, it speaks to our need for deep, authentic friendship. Hasselbeck walked with his friend through pain, but also called him out on unhealthy coping.
I’ve been fortunate to have several friends lovingly call me out. “Ryan, you’re feeling sorry for yourself, and I’m not going to participate” one friend told me. Ouch! Love like that is smelling salt to a groggy soul.
My friend Adam once drove from Lynden, WA to southern California to pick up a good friend who was self-destructing. He had no idea Adam was coming. “C’mon. You’re coming back home. I’ll drive.” He did.
Proverbs 17:17 (NLT) says, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” When you see this verse lived out, it makes you pause. Would I do that for my friend? Would anyone do that for me?
Another reason we pause is because it reminds us of someone. Jesus did the same for us. He still does. In our brokenness, despair, hurt and pain, Jesus meets us where we’re at. He knows these emotions and sits with us. He also says, “This is over. I love you too much to let you do this to yourself. C’mon. You’re coming back home. I’ll drive.”
Here are some applications from these stories:
- The best way to have great friends is to be a great friend. Few of us would call ourselves “a bad friend,” but do we talk behind their back? Do we pray for them? Do we press in when their life is hard? How can we bless their lives?
- Name your best friends. Who are they? You probably won’t have more than 3. Do they know you feel this way? (Jesus’ 3 are Peter, James and John.)
- Pursue your friends. Like Hasselbeck, we can call our friends out and up. Like Adam, we can go get them and say, “C’mon. You’re coming back home. I’ll drive.” When we’re 265 pounds and drinking ourselves to sleep, however, we’d better have an Adam or Hasselbeck in our life. Pursue friends now.
Join in the comments. How have you experienced great friendship?