For those who never feel like giving up, who climb every hill always ready for the next battle; this may not be the piece for you. For the rest of us who many times consider stopping while we are behind, read on.
As some readers may know and more will find out as I continue to write for JesusWired, I have the honor of working for a non-profit called Full Circle Refuge. My primary role has been overseeing the volunteers going into the Augusta YDC, but my evolving role is the development of our Community-Supported Transition for youth coming out of lock-up. My first major experience with that occurred in January. A young man (over 18 years old), who had been a part of one of our weekly groups for quite awhile, had transitioned out and said he wanted to come to Augusta*. Our Executive Director, one of the Good Men who had been working with him, and myself traveled about 2 hours to have lunch with him. He seemed to be doing well and again expressed interest in making the move to Augusta. We left that day excited and planning the next steps. Then the next day a text hit my phone, “sorry for wastin your time.” He had changed his mind and decided to go elsewhere. Even now, over a month later, I can feel the raw emotion that hit me as I sat at my desk. I felt like every piece of my heart had been shredded with his bare hands. At that point, I had a choice.
A few weeks later I had the opportunity to travel almost three hours and see another young man who had transitioned out of the same facility. He too had been through our programs and under the guidance of our volunteers. We found him in a different state of mind though. As we had lunch, he sat there next to a pastor who had planted a church made up of “98% ex con’s and former addicts.” He had a heart to start a place where men could come and be mentored and trained. Our guy was the first. When we left there, we again left hopefully and believing that this could be a turning point in his life. But this time, there was no disheartening text the next day. And to be honest, aside from seeing someone I had personally invested in, I needed to see someone on the right path. I needed to be reminded that for the many who stray, there are also many who follow the straight and narrow. I needed to be shown why I can’t quit.
The truth? That is many of us. It might be at our job, in our family, with our marriage, inside the church we attend, but there comes a time when we want to call it quits. We are done with being disappointed and torn apart and forgotten. We are through with trying and trying only to have people walk away each time. But you and I know the greater truth. We know that most of this life is temporary. The emotions and the short-term setbacks are not going to last. The hard part; we must endure. We must remain steadfast through it all. Through every visible victory and hidden failure, we must remain. You must remain. Me? I don’t get to clock out either. So my advice is if you have just been through a disappointment then put yourself in a good situation. Surround yourself with a community who believes in you. On a more basic level, go where people are happy (sincerely happy) like the downtown market or a local musical or a comedy show. And when you’re feeling up to it, go on back out there in the rough arena we call life. Trust me, it’s waiting.