HFNY story of hope: Kenneth Lindh
Kenneth Lindh grew up in Westchester County, just north of New York City. He worked a full career in the restaurant industry, but hit a turning point while going through a divorce, struggling with substance abuse, experiencing depression and anxiety — and even homelessness.
Kenneth was directed to The Bowery Mission, a Hope for New York affiliate that has a residential men’s program. Below, he shares his story of how God has been working in his life through The Bowery Mission.
I come from a family of five children. My parents were Swedish immigrants. We had a pretty well-to-do life with frequent vacations and summer homes. My father owned four restaurants in Manhattan, and my brothers all worked for my father.
When I moved out, I was used to a lifestyle that I wanted to maintain. I went to cooking school, and got married to a woman who had a good education, and between the two of us, we did fairly well. I worked for 20 years in high-end French restaurants and even started a restaurant of my own. In that time, we had three kids. We were the typical Catholic family, going to Mass on Easter Sunday and Christmas. But that was the extent of it.
I worked as an executive chef at NBC for 10 years and then at Marsh & McLennan for two-and-a-half years. Then my job was eliminated. At the same time, I was going through divorce. I had issues with substance abuse. I was also going through some depression and anxiety. All of this was happening at the same time, and it was a turning point for me.
I was tired of working in this business. The stress and everything else that went with it. I came to a conclusion that I didn’t want to do this kind of work anymore. I got off the roller coaster for a while, did some self-evaluation, was living by myself and incurred a lot of debt between child support and substance abuse problems. That continued a downward spiral. I was homeless for a period of time. I lived in a shelter for a little bit, then a halfway house, then I was in treatment programs.
At one point, I was connected with AA and had a job and was doing better. Then I got sick and was in the hospital and out of work for close to a month. I went into depression and continued drinking and ended up in a Bronx Addiction Treatment Center. That’s when I was directed to The Bowery Mission.
I came to the Bowery Mission in July of 2018. What this place is doing for me is tremendous. It’s been a place for me to settle in and do some self-reflection, get myself back, and find purpose and meaning — and connecting with God is a big part of that.
Being here has helped me see that my God is omnipresent. He has been with me and guided me through the good times and bad. He heard my foxhole prayers in my darkest moments and got me through situations of hunger, homelessness, depression, divorce, loneliness, and so much more.
Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.’”
The plans God has made for me are clearer now. I needed to see my sins and the pain and suffering I caused others. I had to take inventory of my shortcomings and character defects. Until I took a long, hard look at myself and started to make positive changes, I felt like I had no refuge from my world and no refuge from myself, and that is why I’m at The Bowery.
I’m not alone anymore in a hopeless situation, because my God will not go against His word. He continues to show me hope. He’s even showing me healthy ways to help others.
Now I seek to keep God close to my heart and to understand Him in love and prayer. He shall receive all the glory! I am no longer dead in sin, but alive to myself and others because of Jesus.
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