For the next few weeks we will be posting excerpts from Brian’s new book, Stronger.
Read. Enjoy. Practice.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
I recently had to figure out how to trust the Lord with all my heart, while my heart was breaking.
I went with my friend Sonny, who sings for the band P.O.D., to visit a mutual friend of ours named Chi from the band Deftones. Chi had been in a horrible car accident ten months earlier, in November 2008; he was thrown from the vehicle because he wasn’t wearing his seat belt. The accident left him in a coma for a while, but he’d improved somewhat and was now in a semi-conscious state, so we wanted to pay him a visit.
Korn and Deftones started out together back in 1994 by playing in each other’s hometowns. When we both finally got record deals, we hooked up a few times to tour together. Chi and I were a lot alike. We hung out because we loved our beer and we loved our girls back home. We didn’t mess around with the hoochies on the road; we were the “good boys,” at least in that regard. Chi just might be the nicest person I’ve ever met on the planet. When I’d talk to him back in those touring days, it sometimes felt like he was a regular nice guy trapped in a rock star’s body. But then when he’d hit the stage, the nice guy left and all you saw was a rockin’ madman.
Even though I hadn’t seen Chi in many years, I knew I had to do something to support him after I heard about his accident. I flew from Arizona and Sonny flew from southern California. We met up in northern California, where Chi was hospitalized, and rented a car for the last leg. My flight was very early in the morning, and I’d slept only about three hours the night before, so I was pretty tired when we landed. I don’t drink coffee, but I pretty much woke up without caffeine when I saw the rental car that was given to me: a brand-new Camaro. That thing was sick! I hadn’t even reserved it—not that car in particular—but there it was waiting for Sonny and me. At first, driving that car was fun, but knowing that we were going to visit Chi, who could have died in his car accident, brought me back to the hard reality I was going to face: my old friend was in critical condition, and it sucked bad.
When we arrived at Chi’s mom’s apartment, which was near the hospital, we received the warmest possible welcome. His mom, Jeanne, greeted us at the door while his sister, Mae, was cooking us breakfast. Their two dogs took a liking to us right away. They jumped all over us so much that Jeanne had to put them in a cage. The breakfast was awesome, and we just hung out for a while and talked before we went to the hospital, getting an update on Chi and catching up on news.
As we were getting ready to leave for the hospital, something cool happened. A couple weeks prior, Fieldy from Korn had organized a bunch of musicians to do a benefit song for Chi, and I asked Jeanne if she knew when Fieldy’s song was gonna be released. She said she hadn’t heard from him in a long time and didn’t know. Then all of a sudden my phone rang. It was Fieldy, and he said he’d felt a strong urge to call me right then and didn’t know why.
Some people would call that crazy timing and some would call it divine timing, but we all knew it was the latter. Fieldy let me know that his song was going to be finished soon, and Jeanne was overwhelmed with excitement, sure that the momentum would help Chi. We all headed to the hospital with a strong sense that God was right there with us. Feeling God’s presence helped relax the anxiety that had been building in me for days. I didn’t know how to deal with such a catastrophe happening to someone that I’d known for so long.
When we arrived at the hospital and I saw Chi for the first time, my heart felt like it had shattered. I couldn’t imagine what his family had been going through. I started praying for him immediately because I always try to go to God for everything as quick as I can. I prayed for a miracle, but just seeing the state he was in was incredibly hard, and believing that a miracle could happen was even harder.
As Jeanne and Mae talked to Chi and tried to get him to open his eyes, I started whispering cuss words to myself. I was so upset and emotional that instead of crying, I got mad. I couldn’t understand how someone so nice and so loved could be going through something like that. Watching the still figure in the hospital bed, I saw a tattoo of Jesus on Chi’s hand, and it
made me think about how Jesus must’ve had a strong connection with Chi, because Jesus didn’t deserve what happened to Him, either.
Jeanne and Mae stood back so that Sonny and I could talk to Chi, but all we could do was hope that he heard us. Chi was incoherent because of his semiconscious state and the many medicines he was on. Still, we kept talking to him, telling him that we loved him and that we wanted him to wake up and come back to his family.
We hung out there all day, breaking only for lunch with Jeanne and a visiting granddaughter, leaving Mae at Chi’s side. During lunch, I realized where Chi had gotten his good nature, because Jeanne is such a sweetheart. We hung out at the restaurant for a while and then went back to the hospital to say goodbye to Chi. Man, I don’t know if I’ll ever hear a more heartfelt prayer than the one Sonny prayed for Chi before we left. We both just lay and cried on Chi’s chest as Sonny softly prayed and begged God to bring our brother back.
God can make this happen, and I’m waiting to see it manifest. My heart was broken that day, and I’ve really had to trust in the Lord with my whole heart, as Proverbs 3:5–6 says in our scripture passage for the day. I’m trusting that God will turn the entire heartache that Chi’s accident caused around for good in His way and with His timing.
As I write this, I don’t know where Chi’s recovery will be in the future, but I’m asking you, in the love of Jesus, to please go to the website OneLoveForChi.com and check his progress so you can know how to pray for him and his family. Chi’s insurance canceled him because he wasn’t showing signs of recovery fast enough for them. Please donate anything you can to help his family with the medical bills. Dealing with the aftermath of Chi’s accident is horrible enough for his family, but the cancellation of his health insurance has been complete agony for them. Please help! Everybody can donate something, and the website makes it easy. Hopefully Chi will be out on tour with the Deftones by the time you read this.
Thank you very much, trust in the Lord with all your heart, and please wear your seat belt!
© 2010 Brian “Head” Welch. All rights reserved.