I remember my first week at Hope Street like it was yesterday. In many ways it was a whirlwind of information, people, training, and more people. In many regards not much has changed; I just call it life at Hope Street now. Nonetheless one of the points of emphasis that stuck out to me over the first year was “if the hard stuff, the mess, the deep brokenness ever gets easier to hear or work through quit”. In other words if the moments of relapse, refusal to admit wrongdoing, lies, manipulation and even the unfortunate scenarios of death become easy to bear… quit. Somewhere down the road you have become numb to things that should never cause you to be still, inactive or unmoved. Somehow the things that break God’s heart you have shut off.
Well this last week I wanted to shut it off. I sat in a class in Deerfield for grad school and read the message “Eric was found dead”. Not much unlike other times before, a deep rage, unsettling, heart wrenching “something” inside of me was completely uneasy. So much so I got up and walked out of class and wept. Members of Hope Street come and go. Whether they are in our building or outside they are still very much a part of our family, my family. I see Eric peeking his head around the corner to see how I am doing, ask if I need help, or pulling out photos of his adorable son. I see Eric coming in to help at James Place and planning to be at our Open House next week. I don’t see how a 32 year old man with so much more life to live is now gone. And it hurts. Somehow in the midst of the hurt, I am reminded that there is purpose and reason beyond my understanding. I am reminded that all of creation moans for the day that Christ will return. I am reminded that some days cause us to moan a little or a lot more than others. So yes, we see pruning, growth and flourishing take place here. But some days death stops us in our tracks and we wonder why. Yet, our wonder doesn’t allow us to quit. It simply allows us to grieve and trust that as long as we allow our hearts to break what breaks His, we will continue to join Him in His kingdom work.
Father, not my will, but your will be done. Crushed yet hopeful, Ash.