Sometimes I’m afraid to tell a success story. Just as I write the final line, all the things I had to say seem to wash away.
More than once I’ve come to my computer and sat down to tell you about a particular Micah client who landed at our doorstep more than six years ago. He’d had a house of his own in King George, a prosperous career in parts distribution and a wife and son to be proud of. But things began to unravel. His wife left. His son moved in with a girlfriend. And he found the most comfort drowning himself in a bottle until he fell asleep and forgot what he’d lost.
Drinking had always been a big part of his life, but it had been an after work thing–a hobby for the evening hours that ended in plenty of time to get up and make money the next day. With all that was going on, however, the drinking became more of the norm than the extracurricular. Soon he found himself without a job and waiting on the police to arrive to evict him from an apartment where he could no longer pay the bills.
It was only days after that eviction that he found himself at Micah’s doorstep, dropped off by a cab from the hospital after a short detox. Then, fifty-years-old, he was homeless for the first time in his life, and for the next two years he stayed homeless. We extended many conglomerations of help over the years, some of which worked better than others. And there were many moments, I thought the community should know about his struggles and perseverance.
I wanted to tell you about the success story, when we got him in housing the first time, and he got a job for a little while. But his confidence got the best of him, he started drinking again, and I thought you’d be disappointed when you heard he got in trouble.
I wanted to tell you about the success story, when he got on disability and we housed him a second time. But he was such lost soul, believing so little in his own potential for success, I didn’t think you’d understand.
Off and on, these last few years, I wanted to tell you about his good moments. I wanted you to know about all the conversations we had about taking up volunteering, saving his money, buying a house, getting a side job and even relocating to Alabama to help his son take care of his new born baby. But those good moments were often short-lived, and I didn’t want you to lose hope in what we knew was possible.
I’m courageous enough to tell this story now because he’s been sober for nine months, he’s making plans for the future and for the first time in many years he isn’t leaving the hope in himself up to someone else. HE believes in himself once again.
But please don’t miss my point.
To get to the success story, there are a lot of disappointments along the way. There are false starts. There are a lot of give up moments. There are a lot of partners who won’t make it to the end because it’s too hard to keep believing in someone who can’t even see the good in themselves.
Hope is such a small word to describe what it takes to look after the people God calls us to care for. But if we really believe, we will take time for that person anyway. Regardless of the reasons not to, we will try again. And even when our hope in a person is so small we aren’t sure it has the power to grow anymore, we will have faith that anything is still possible.
Hope you see, doesn’t have a size requirement. It just has to planted. Once perched in the soul of a human being and watered with the faith from another, it has no choice but to grow.