There is much to report on! Chaplain visits, walking alongside men through life's peaks and valleys, pointing them toward Christ. There is the non profit center which has a new tenant and a new, much needed, roof! (No small miracle, that). We anticipating launching 'Men2Serve' this September for those men I visit with sho are spiritually sensitive but church averse. However, this month, I have decided to take a different tack.
I’'ve finished a book entitled, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, which has been a fabulous read. The book is written by JD Vance (now a Yale Law School grad) who grew up in the hills of eastern Kentucky and Ohio in a family that was uber-dysfunctional, characterized by out-of-wedlock pregnancies, infidelity, drug addiction, alcoholism, distrust of outsiders, violence, educational indifference and screaming as the preferred method of communication.
I found the book fascinating for two reasons: First, it helps me to better understand the chaos and corresponding pathologies that characterize so many men from our local Good Samaritan Shelter, one of which I am presently meeting with. Secondly, it reminds me of my own family of origin which is rooted in hillbilly-esque rural Indiana. What I found especially fascinating about Vance’s book is reading about the formative people and events that (miraculously) made JD an outlier, lifting him up and out of the toxic cauldron into which he was born.
Speaking of families, above is a pic of ours, taken over the 4th of July.
Left to Right
Son-in-law Rob, grandson Jordan (if you have 4 hours, I have some more pics of Jordan :-) and Rob’s wife, our oldest daughter, Kelly who is expecting #2 in October!
Next there is Jane and yours truly. I, of course, am trying to give instruction to the photographer, (control issues? Me? :-) For her part, Jane is vainly attempting to refocus her husband, trying to get me into proper position, unaware that she is simultaneously being punked by Rob as she attempts to bring order from the chaos.
Next to us is our middle child, Becky, who is looking heavenward, presumably asking to be delivered from this chaotic mess. Next to Becky is our other son in law, Becky’s husband Eric, who has closed his eyes, probably praying for deliverance.
We conclude with our youngest child, Ryan, who is looking away from the camera, not wanting to be identified by friends, should this pic pop up somewhere on social media and used as leverage of some sort.
Ah, families. One of the reasons I selected this particular family pic is that it perfectly captures what most families are like: A messy, imperfect but altogether wonderful network of relationships that God often uses to sustain, encourage and remake us into people who, in time, may display their Maker, in fuller measure.
From our family to you and yours, ‘thank you’ for making this mission possible.
All the best,