For nearly 26 years I have worked with people who have pushed their own self-destruct buttons, fought without success to break the fetters of addiction and suffered from the callousness of a society that prefers to keep its distance from them.
For nearly 26 years my heart has been broken over and over again. With each new crisis in the life of a person we serve, I re-live the heartbreaks of the past.
As I prepare to visit yet another friend going through a tragedy of monumental proportions (sorry, but I can’t tell you about it right now) a part of me can’t help but pray for a healthy dose of “professional detachment”. That part of me yearns to be able to seal this sad situation in a box that I open only when necessary. The rest of the time I can go on my merry way oblivious to the anguish as I perform the more mundane tasks of ministry.
But is that what I really want?
Is it better to keep that emotional distance, or is it better to feel the pain? I confess that sometimes I “grow weary in well-doing” and even dream of days without a phone call or vision of someone’s suffering or desperate need, but over the years I have made a discovery:
Walking with people through their pain, sharing grief in their defeats and joy in their victories is the fuel for my passion.
God’s vision for this ministry is the engine and the Holy Spirit is the spark that gets things started every day. But it’s my passion for the people we serve, our staff, volunteers and donors that keeps the engine running on what has become a very long trip. And I think I have enough fuel to go just a little farther.
God help me if I lose that passion. God help me if my heart stops breaking. When that happens it will be time to leave.
God’s grace to you,
Steve Jennings, Executive Director