We try to bring hope and love to the people we work with in Pine Ridge. It is not an easy job. The world has beaten down people in almost every way possible. It is hard to help people see a future to have hope for a better future when they have no reason to believe in it.
We are operating the center as a day shelter. Every day I see the looks on people’s faces who are struggling to find hope. I have had many conversations with people who have completed rehab only to come back to town with no place to live, no jobs, and soon their old friends are calling them back to the life they are trying to leave behind. This does not encourage others to try.
But for me the hardest is to see the young adults who have no hope. Recently we hired a young woman to work at the center. We are trying to develop a mentoring program. The intention is to help them develop habits and skills to lead a life they are proud to live. If no one shows you how to do life it can be hard. One of my sons called me yesterday with a question about how to get paperwork for his car. I was happy to help him but it made me think about the young adults I work with, who do they turn to?
The young woman we hired is trying hard. But it is not easy for her. She is in survival mode. At 19 she is effectively on her own. And the streets are calling her. She is being made to feel bad because she wants to improve her life. Her friends at not really concerned about her. In some ways they are using her. Intentionally or not, they are holding her back. Her second day working for us she had to leave early because her friends were picking on her.
On Friday I had to have another chat with her. We discussed that if she wants to change her life, she needs new friends. She needed to have people who would lift her up not pull her back down. That she needed to decide if she wanted to make a change in her life. I was disappointed to need to have this conversation. The day before we purchased a new set of clothes for her. She was walking taller and smiled brighter. Yet the next day her “Friends” were encouraging her to make poor decisions.
I told her on Friday to think about what SHE WANTED. And if she wanted to have a better life, she had to decide what she needed to do. I said if you want to change your life, I will see you Monday.
I am sad to say that she did not show today. I pray she is okay.
I do know that God loves her. God loves you and so do I.
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