Why Did I Cry?

Today in church, I cried.

Two young ladies (twins – that I do not know) were called up front so we could recognize their high school graduation. Their dad is a choir member at our church. He stood up with them as did their grandma.

I don’t know them…why did I cry?

Because a gay man was able to stand in his predominately “gay church” with his daughters and mom and celebrate their graduation.

It wasn’t that many years ago such a thing would have been unheard of. In the past you would never take your children to a church labeled as “gay” and its highly unlikely you would invite your parents to such a church.

So, why did I cry?

I cried for all of our gay brothers and sisters that didn’t live to see this day.
I cried because we stand on the shoulders of so many people who would not sit and be quiet…we owe them our tears and our laughter.
I cried because we still have to march in the streets to make sure our government knows we haven’t gone away.
I cried because there are days I fear we are slipping backwards.
and…
I cried because there is a generation of young people, following right behind us, that don’t understand what the big deal is…because they haven’t known a time when it wasn’t ok to be gay…I pray they never will.

A father, a grandmother and twin teenage girls…celebrating a high school graduation and I cried.

The Places We Find History

Many others have walked this ground. They have loved their children, built their homes and laid their loved ones to rest…in this same place.

Its hard to imagine this land, that is covered with concrete, buildings and trash, was once a hillside homestead. I imagine fields of flowing grass, longhorns grazing in the distance and children swinging under the live oak tree.DSC_0457

These are my thoughts as I stand admiring a small cemetery I found located in the middle of a parking lot shared by two motels. Both motels serve a transient population. In the distance all I can hear is the traffic of interstate 30 as cars dart between Fort Worth and Dallas. Its amazing where we run into history.DSC_0452

I continue to imagine the view from this place 150 years ago. Standing on this hill it is easy to see the city of Fort Worth only a few miles away. Today, tall glass sky scrapers reflect the sun but when this family cemetery was established in 1861 the town was less than 10 years old.
Schools, businesses and churches were in their infancy.DSC_0460

My thoughts take me beyond this place. I wonder if there is anyway for the generations of our past to have grasped what the world would become 100+ years into the future. Is it possible for any of us to truly imagine what the world will be like after we are gone?
And of all things…how many of us will find our final resting place to be in the middle of a motel parking lot?IMG_9161

A Success Story…

A success story…Social Workers don’t always get to hear what happens next.

Recently I was walking into an apartment office to discuss one of my clients with the manager. A woman stepped out of the office and immediately said I looked familiar to her. We talked for a minute and figured out she lived in the homeless shelter at the same time I was doing my internship.

She told me she remembered that I helped her figure out her credit score and what she needed to do to improve things.

She was excited to announce that she left the shelter 6 years ago and has lived continuously in an apartment ever since.

I think many of us assume there is no hope for people on the street. We believe they have chosen a life of drugs, alcohol, or laziness. Because we don’t always see the positive outcomes…we assume they don’t happen. When our group serves the homeless we hear lots of hopeful stories of getting a job, having an apartment or getting back in touch with family. We rarely get to see those things actually happen.

I have no doubt it took a lot of commitment and hard work for this lady to stabilize her life and maintain a life with shelter, consistency and security. I am so very happy I had the opportunity to hear her story of success.

Unexpected Lesson

I woke up in a grumpy mood this morning. Freckles and Sugar decided to start barking much too early.
Saturday morning, no where to be, no plans…and they start barking.
After Tina and the girls headed out to get mani-pedis I decided to lay down and try to sneak in a quick nap before going for a bike ride.
Just as I started to doze off my phone rang. I looked, it was a client. I rolled back over. Within minutes my phone rang again…same client. I decided to answer, though I was not happy about it.
When I answered it wasn’t my client, it was her brother. He told me his sister died.
I sat there stunned. I kept thinking about my interactions with this young lady. I thought about her family. I thought about the hole she would leave.
Then I realized how ridiculous I had been earlier. I was grumpy…for no real reason. The fact is I woke up…earlier than I wanted…but I woke up. I had the entire day ahead of me…I could go ride my bike, hug my wife and laugh with the girls. I still had things to look forward to and friends to love…I still have my life.

There are so many sad side stories to this death. So many hearts broken by this loss. Yet everyone’s life will move on. Everyone, even her closest family will heal. What I hope for is that each person effected and maybe even those of you that read this post, will take a minute to remember how fortunate we are. Remember to appreciate the time we are given to walk on this earth. And most importantly remember to appreciate those people we get to share this planet with.