I really enjoy working with the men in our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program at Helping Up Mission. During that year we really get to know and appreciate each other, as well as share our joys and sorrows together. That is why it is painful when a guy leaves, especially inappropriately. But Shakespeare (or someone smart) once said, “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I know that is true.
Something that never gets old for me here is seeing guys who have graduated and moved on. This has been one of those weeks. Stephen graduated in 2004 and often stops by to keep connected and talk with guys he knows. Unfortunately I am always in class or a meeting and never see him. He caught me on the street this week and just wanted to say hi. He said he has stayed clean since arriving at the Mission in 2003 and is doing well at his job. I had no idea where he was, how he was doing or that he was here so frequently and “giving back.”
Yesterday, John drove up and honked his horn at me as I was waiting to meet someone. He graduated in 2007 and has been at the same job he had when he was here. Other alumni from Helping Up Mission also work where he is and he told me how well they are all doing. While others around our place probably knew, I had no idea. John said he likes to come back by HUM, stay connected and remember from whence he came (my terminology not his!). Again, I had no idea what all was happening in his life either.
We are graduating about 100 men a year from our 12-month Spiritual Recovery Program these days. So very many of them stay connected and regularly stop by. It is very exciting for me to see when the new guys in our Program get it.” But, man, do I love seeing the alumni who “still have it” come back and “give back.”
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director