Well here I am back in California. It’s been a year since the annual RR Conference, and though I’ve been here numerous times over the years, it’s still a great week of learning and refreshing! This morning as I was sitting on the balcony watching the boats launch in the bay, and soaking in all of the green, ironically, it turns out that things aren’t quite as green as they were in the past. As I observed the Palm trees and the fauna I began to see brown and yellow, and the reality of California’s lack of rain and drought began to sink home! Then … one of favourite scriptures came to mind:
“Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.” Psalm 144:12. Well nurtured plants and pillars of beauty! This is what the youth of today were meant to be. Strong, healthy, stable, and beautiful; life giving!
I then thought of a sculpture back in my office at home, a piece that I had purchased from my daughter and one of her friends for a $100. I had named it ‘Midas the Fractured Youth’ as I found the story of the bust itself, its recovery and redemption, strikingly similar to the stories of the youth that attended the Mission’s Youth Center! Let me share that story with you now:
Kelly and a classmate had been assigned a project in which they were to create a clay bust of themselves. Kelly’s friend began the process of doing his project, but unfortunately at some point he dropped the bust on the floor. It broke and it fell apart, and he wound up throwing it in the garbage. However; for some reason Kelly decided to save it. She pulled it out of the trash, glued it back together, and began to create something. She painted it gold and she glued pieces of broken mirror all over it. In the end, she had made something beautiful out of the brokenness, which I thought was very unique!
That piece reminded me of the youth that Souls Harbour Rescue Mission reaches out to almost every day; broken, fractured, and very often discarded, yet still beautiful. The cracks and fractures were a reminder of the addictions, the broken families, the poverty, and the abuse that they struggled with, sometimes themselves, and sometimes within their own families. They were not second class, they were not to be discarded; they just needed a safe place, someone to love them, sometime to tell them of God’s love, and someone to give them hope and opportunity! The Gold reminded me of their value. The pieces of broken mirror were the self-reflections of their lives that they shared with us, and to me those cracks and fractures were scars of victory. In a sense, they were just plants that needed to be nurtured and pillars that needed to be shaped!
As I thought about this a little more today, I came to two conclusions. The first being just how proud I am of my children. They are intelligent, both Kelly and Liam have chosen to go through the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program in high school. Kelly has graduated and is now working and taking other classes via the net while she works. Liam will graduate from grade 12 in June. Kelly values justice, equality, and fairness and acceptance for all. Liam has a great heart, very giving, and rarely if ever has he, or does he, ask for something for himself. He has a creative mind. They are both healthy and discovering who they are. I love my kids!
Secondly, I was reminded of the good work that Souls Harbour Rescue Mission does in offering hope through our Dean Smith Youth Center! We do this by partnering with quality like-minded organizations such as Gentle Road Church of Christ and City Kids. Together we believe that children are our future. We have a role to play in shaping them, and helping them find their purpose no matter what their circumstances are! Sometimes life and circumstance can be harsh, and sometimes these kids just need encouragement, someone to actually be there for them, and most importantly someone to believe in them!
In closing, let me just say that I have no idea who reads this blog, but if there’s anybody out there (ok I guess that sounds a little weird – almost X filish), that’s interested in volunteering at the youth center, or making a donation to help us offer hope and opportunity to our future generations please do so. It’s really easy, just click on the ‘Get Involved’ tab on the website and follow the links! Have a great day!