There is a deeper story behind this picture. It’s not just a simple and fun moment. Josiah and Jessie both have stories of how they came to Hope Street. What you don’t know from this picture is Jessie sharing how Hope Street’s community is his family, not the typical family you expect, but one that goes beyond what he had hoped for, imagined could be, or thought he deserved. What you don’t see in this picture is the process that led to Jessie sitting in the office to share his life and to share in the lives of Hope Street staff. You do not see a man who isolated in his bedroom and considered revocation as the next best step, to the beaming and joy filled presence he is today. In this photo you do not hear the tenderhearted inflection of Jessie’s voice when he says, “Come here bud, let me help you with that.”
You don’t know that Josiah has not even been here a week, but feels so welcomed and comfortable and safe that he comes to the office simply to be loved… and what you do see is the beauty of when he receives that from Jessie, and gives it right back in full. Every photo at Hope Street has a story behind it that is not always shared, is not always KNOWN. But, just like any set of family photos, it is more than smiling faces and candid moments - there are stories of brokenness, of heartbreak, of poor choices and wreckage that have brought each person to Hope Street; but there is also the deeper story, the one we glimpse in these photos, there is the joy, the soft and loving hearts, and the hopefulness that comes with being a child of God and the promise He has woven into our very souls.
A photo is never just a picture - it is a single moment of a deeper story. Pause and linger here. Lean in and hear the story behind the moment - if you do, if you are open to receiving the gift of the other, you may just find your unexpected family.