One of the things for which I am most grateful during this time is the sense of “rootedness” we feel in Santa Barbara. Our family relocated to the Santa Barbara/Goleta area only one year ago and I’m struck by the fact that we easily could be facing this family crisis feeling a bit isolated and alone as it does take time to make friends in a new community but that is not our experience at all…I feel so surrounded and supported by our friends in Santa Barbara – as if we’ve lived here for 20 years! A big hug of gratitude goes out to the families at La Patera Elementary School, my sweet bible study and our community of friends associated with the rescue mission.
We moved to Santa Barbara after living in Los Angeles for 17 years when Rolf accepted a position directing the work of the Santa Barbara Resuce Mission. One of the sweetest blessings in making the move is that the rescue mission has become more than a place of employment for Rolf but, literally, a “home away from home” for our family AND the staff and residents there have become part of an extended family to us all!!! Our family lived at the mission a couple of months before we found and moved into our house last fall and we continue a family tradition of having dinner at the mission every Thursday (Pat and his team cook much better than I do!).
It is such an amazing place to me…a place where miracles are in the making every day…a place where the homeless in our community are provided with hot meals and clean beds and where men and women make a courageous choice to submit themselves to a 12-month residential recovery program as they confront their addictions to drugs and/or alcohol. These men and women, in particular, and the staff that walk along side them and facilitate their recovery are my heros! The residents because they persevere in a life and death battle every day that is unimaginable to me and the staff because I’ve never seen such professional excellence wrapped in such compassion and love – all a picture of God’s, truly, amazing grace.
I was blessed this week by the women in the program…the residents and staff of Bethel House planned a time to pray for our family and celebrate Rudy. It was a wonderful afternoon…the women used their creative talents in art, music and writing to honor me and Rudy, we had an uplifting time in prayer and enjoyed the yummiest carrot cake I’ve ever had! As I sat there watching all their plans unfold, I was struck by how very rich my life is and how very thankful I am that as I prepare to leave for LA in a couple of weeks and prepare to support Rudy in his life and death battle, I have this amazing circle of heros that inspire and encourage me.
I just had to share with you a poem one of the gals at Bethel House wrote for me and Rolf…precious!
AND SO HE CHOSE YOU
One glorious morning not long ago God was surveying His stock
Of all the not-yet-born boys in His Heavenly flock.
He was looking for a particular boy for they had a job to do.
It was “Parent Picking Day” and Rudy hadn’t a clue…
As to whom to choose for parents and whether he liked it or not.
Though he’d get some help from God, the choice was up to the tot.
“Well, I know what I don’t want,” said Rudy with a sigh.
“I’ve got no previous experience so I can’t really tell you why…
“But I don’t want parents who are Doctores or Lawyers or PHDs
“And Heaven help us stay away from the Psychologists PLEASE!”
“Whoa there, little fella,” said God with a tender smile.
“Don’t be dissin’ my professionals and looking down with your nose.
“There’s always a chance you’ll grow up to be one of those!”
“What I want,” continued Rudy with some determination
(His thoughts were gathering steam, now, and he spoke in affirmations)
“My dad must be kind and patient and very, very strong
“My mom must be gentle and loving – within her heart a song.
“My parents should be leaders, teachers of Your word
“Shouting out Your praises, your verses to be heard.
“My parents should be well loved by their fellow man
“People coming from all around by their side to stand.”
“Hey, little man, that’s an awfully tall order, you’veput some thought in this
“Are you sure there’s nothing else – something you may have missed?”
God decided to tease the boy and asked him “Perhaps you’d like your father to play professional golf?”
“Oh No!” said Rudy disarmingly, “That’s why I choose Trish and Rolf!!”