I sit here, weary and drained, wondering if I even have the energy to write. Today was exhausting, day two of three 12-hour shifts. Ad hominem arguments consumed the day. The assortment of claims included me being a motherfucker, that I wasn’t a Christian, and that I was a little bitch.
Some men at the mission only have respect left to give, while others sadly never learned how to give respect at all.
Shattered homes, shattered careers, shattered dreams, and shattered lives are the central stories for the men that live at the Peoples City Mission. For some men, a lifetime’s possessions have been abandoned. While other men have never even aspired far enough in life to have had the opportunity to abandoned their possessions. Some men have failed tremendously at being fathers and the only thing they shall give their children is sorrow and insecurity, that will haut them for the rest of their lives. Other men have been poor lovers and have ruined marriages. They have been abusive both verbally and physical with women. These men have been reckless in their pursuits.
Many of these men have done nothing honorable with their lives and for that I am sometimes tempted to despise them.
All of these men have mothers. Some mothers will call the mission looking for their sons. Other mothers don’t have to go far to see their sons because they are only divided by a wall that separates the women’s and family side from the men’s shelter. A few mothers send their sons money. One mother brought her son McDonalds. Sadly many of the mothers have given up on their sons and wish to have nothing to do with their lives.
Despair has took root and flourished in these men’s lives and rightfully so. I am overwhelmed by their dysfunction and inability to stay sober, get a job, be responsible, and respect others. And I am equally terrified by their determinations to roll cigarettes all day, watch TV, abuse alcohol, and use violence.
I can’t fix these men! I can only attempt to express to them respect and dignity, which they deserve, contrary to what the world may say. They too are sons of God and they too can be citizens of Heaven if they choose. God is able to give them a new ideal and a new optimum, when they have failed, just as he is able to do the exact same thing for us.
Marvelous expressions of resilience, creativity, and new idealism are possible among these men who have seen their old world destroyed and are now being forced to imagine a new one. And there are men like this too at the mission! Men who are determined to pay their child support and be involved in their children’s lives. Men who are resolute to make right their lives with God and with the people they have hurt. Men who are fearful to look at a beer should they turn back to alcoholism. These men, though few, are turning their lives around and they are becoming beautiful and responsible citizens.