Two days ago was a Tuesday. Tuesdays are our “Activity Days” at the men’s community of Shepherd’s House. Darin took a van load of men to hike up to Tumalo Falls, a couple men went bowling, and I took a couple guys to climb at our local rock gym.
After a morning of climbing, Ryan, Tim, and I headed to a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. Relaxing over hot coffee we’d fallen into the easy conversation that comes with feelings of well-being following strenuous exercise.
During a lull in the conversation my phone buzzes an incoming message from where it sits on the table beside my half-full coffee cup. I glance at the message header and see it is from my friend, Mike. It’s always great to hear from him so I open the message:
Three years ago today I was sitting in a jail cell and had no idea how to fix my life. I am thankful for the Shepherd’s House and thankful I am where I am in life. Jesse, Josiah, myself, and others are proof that people can change. Thank you Cash for all you did and do.
Just a short note but loaded with meaning that went straight to my heart. Over the past seven years I have felt like I am right where I am supposed to be. Most days when I go to work it sure doesn’t feel like work. It feels more like getting together with friends. That is not to say it is easy. Some days are incredibly hard.
Take Mike for example. We had many great times together, but we also had to have some very difficult, hard conversations.
But the hard days are all so very worth it. Messages like Mike’s are just icing on the cake. Thank you for partnering with us in serving the hurting and the broken. Because of your encouragement and support I get to welcome the man just out of jail or right off the street to walk into a new way of living life.
I wish you could see the pictures Mike’s posts of him and his six- year-old son. Smiles plastered across their faces with dripping ice cream cones in hand; Mike taking his son to his first day of school.
Anyway. Thank you. Thank you for being a part of these stories.
By Cash Lowe
Organizational Chaplain, Shepherd’s House Ministries