Most of my life, I wondered, “What use is love? What use is prayer or God?'' It didn't start out that way. My mother was a loving woman who believed in God.
But life treated her cruelly. My father abandoned us when I was quite young. Mom struggled to feed me and my siblings, and despair overwhelmed her. As I watched her struggle, I thought, “and you want me to pray? There is no God. If you want anything out of life, you have to get it for yourself.''
Eventually my mom overcame her despair and still clung to her God. But, not me. My gods were me and the world. I spent the rest of my life working in the military and the hotel industry — and drinking. No matter what I did, I could never find happiness. Mom tried to tell me that I'd never be happy until I had Jesus in my life, but I still wanted to do it my way.
Surrounded by Love
But doing it my way, I ended up homeless. One night in January 2012, I came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. I was tired and broken. One of the chaplains invited me to join the program and become the man God intended me to be. I remembered everything my mom had said. And I thought, “OK. I'm ready.''
I took all the classes, attended all the meetings and did all the work they asked me to do. All of that was important. But what really changed my life was love.
I'd spent my life keeping love at a distance. Suddenly, I was surrounded by people who cared for one another, who served one another, who modeled love on such a grand scale it overwhelmed me. I witnessed the truth that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. That's what got me.
And now, that's how I want to live my life — loving others like they've loved me. I graduated from the Milwaukee Rescue Mission's Life Skills Program last January, and I can honestly say, I have never been so happy in my life.
Thank you for showing me what love really looks like.