He pulled up his sleeve and extended his arm toward me. Tracks marked the inside of his arm. He pulled up the other sleeve and swiped his fingers over the red places.
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“Went and knocked up some other woman. Got hisself some other kids. But we was his first childs. He just left. How do you do that?!”
But sometimes the mountain of failure and shame is just too big, too hard to climb, and the path is impossible to trek alone.
One of the more frustrating elements of ministry at Joe’s is the complexity of the roots of problems. More than your average congregants who have their family background and personal emotional woundings for baggage, we daily encounter these plus the worldview and value system that is inherent to generational poverty. Add to these the ingredients of drug addiction and mental illness, and otherwise simple needs become recipes for extreme frustration to a minister. We struggle to know whether to hope for improvement or simply to recognize one another as family and love each other IN the condition some are.
Joey’s stared at me, his eyes widening and filling with tears. He said, “I am in darkness. I’ve been in darkness my whole life. That can’t be what God is saying.”