Recently I’ve encountered many people who are and have been doing incredible healing work in their communities. And because of all that’s going on in the world, they’re now questioning if they’ve made or are making any positive difference at all. In my travels and conversations with family and friends, doubt and cynicism seem to be on the rise. This concerns me. God placed this letter on my heart to share love and encouragement with you.
In the past twenty-six years in my calling in youth development I have attended many funerals for young people. I have experienced many grieving parent’s tears shed upon my shoulders as they screamed in agony from losing their child. I’ve been in courtrooms many times as a young person I knew and worked with was given a life sentence. I’ve been in abandoned buildings where children have not had any solid foods for over a week. I’ve been in drug houses and assisted law enforcement in rescuing youth who were being bought and sold for sex. I could go on and on with examples about the evil that is encountered in my work, our society, and around the world, and I am sure you can too.
We can count our scars as the number of times we’ve been wounded and compare tragedies, or we can count our scars as the number of times we’ve been healed and share miracles. It’s not about what you walk into, it’s about what you walk in with. You, my dear friend, walk into the darkest moments of people’s lives delivering light. Can we change what’s already happened in our lives or the lives of others? No. Can we influence what happens next? Absolutely! And sometimes we forget that influencing what happens next is more powerful than what happened before. Inter-generational healing is more powerful than inter-generational trauma. And what an honor it is to be part of a cycle of healing. Thank you for choosing with the Creator of your understanding to be the healing force you’re created to be. I could go on and on with stories of overcoming all odds, fortitude, resilience, healing and miracles that is encountered in my work, our society, and around the world, and I am sure you can too.
A dear friend of mine, who has selflessly served his community for many decades recently described his decades of countless contributions as, “It’s like trying to punch a hole in water. It doesn’t do any good. It’s just a nice illusion.” I reminded him that feeling as if what we’re doing is not making a positive difference is the illusion, not the truth. We all feel like that from time to time, especially after experiencing tragedy. But what is it that we guide our young people to do when they’ve experienced pain, loss and tragedy? We guide them in honoring their feelings. We guide them in expressing their feelings in a manner that is not destructive. We guide them in channeling their pain, loss, and tragedy into healing medicines for themselves, their family, and our communities. We guide them in how to use every stone that life hits them with as a stepping stone to create a better path for themselves and others, instead of using those stones to build a wall around their hearts and give up. And isn’t that exactly what guided you to the path of service you’re on right now? Now isn’t the time to give up. Now is the time to remember why you started and why you’ve held on so long.
Any reason why we want to give up on our vision, mission, and purpose is also the same place where our vision, mission, and purpose can become even more clear, refueled and restored. The work you do is so important and I thank you for doing it. I honor you for doing it.