I have been working with a certain young man for just about three years now. His name is “Mike” and he has had more than his share of set backs in his life before coming to the Open Door Mission. Mike’s Father was incarcerated when Mike was five years old and he has not seen him since. Mike’s mother has been addicted to crack cocaine for as long as he can remember and he has not seen her for a couple of years. I cannot imagine the feelings of abandonment he must have. I vowed early on never to add to those feelings.
Mike learned many things from his mother one being how to live on the street and do drugs. He would disappear for long periods of time only to come back looking very pale and very malnourished. Upon his arrival we would sit for hours and talk of where he has been and things he has done and been through. I often found it very hard not to look horrified when he would tell me of some new low he had found. After a while I would try to encourage him with praise, prayer and talk of his future, but would never tell him that if he continued to behave the way he does he would have to find another place to stay or that I would no longer have time for him.
It has been one year since I last heard from him. Never have I gone one year without speaking with him. I think of the terrible stories he has told me over the years wonder what tragedy he is experiencing now.
I received a letter the other day from no one other than Mike himself. Enclosed were a letter and a picture of Mike, a young woman and a baby. They were standing in front of a pickup truck that, according to the letter, Mike has just purchased with the proceeds from his new job in construction. There was no return address and no statement in the letter that would give away his location. I guess sometimes you have to not only leave the past behind, but you can’t tell it where your going.
God Bless You,
Tim Suelter, Directer of Men’s Emergency Services at Open Door Mission.
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