I love my job! But I sure get frustrated on my job! I suppose anyone I know who loves their job feels the same (and those who don’t love their job, I am really sorry for you).
With 400 men spending the night here on the 1000 block of East Baltimore Street, there is always someone who breaks my heart because of some bad choices they make. Sometimes it really gets to me and I start to wonder if I am really doing any good here – am I really making a difference. I know Jesus said that giving even a cup of cold water is honored (Mt 10:42), but I sure can get weary in well doing.
Yet, every time I get down about one guy, I just look around me and can honestly see 10 guys who are really finding hope and answers and experiencing change. We will have 100 (103 to be precise) graduates walk across the stage at our Samaritan Circle Graduation Banquet on May 16 at Martin’s West. Not the largest class ever, it still means that 2 men a week come into this program and finish one year later. Every week at our Friday chapel service, we celebrate these men completing their year and I am always so amazed at how much a man has changed during those 12 months. It is just hard to stay discouraged too long around here.
Then there are the guys who don’t finish our program, for whatever the reason. I run into them everywhere. Two weeks ago I took dinner to my wife, a psych nurse working at a hospital in Montgomery County. I live in Frederick County and work in Baltimore City, so I don’t expect to hear somebody yelling “Pastor Gary, Pastor Gary” in Montgomery General Hospital. I was sure, he wasn’t yelling at me.
Well, he was. He said he was at Helping Up Mission 4 years ago and had to leave because of a medical situation. He said he stumbled for just a bit after he left but then found the empowerment to get back up and keep going. He has been clean these 4 years, is back with his family and a contributing member of society again. He was so appreciative of the hope, answers and empowerment he received at Helping Up Mission. While he gave us more credit than we deserve, I will take it!
Last week another guy stopped by class. He left our Program early, too. Just wanted me to know that he is doing well – clean, working and with his family. I still think a guy needs to stay here and finish what he started. But God is definitely working in the lives of men in our Program. Man, I love my job!
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director