“Sometimes it’s necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness.” Galway Kinnell
In his book, “Tattoos on the Heart,” Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles writes, “The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives.”
Kim and I have been here for eight months now feeling our way through the mission and purpose of this ministry as we have lived and worked with the four young women living in the house, and the truth of Kinnell’s words above are applicable to every one of them. And it’s around those words that we are endeavoring to move forward.
Embrace, encourage, empower
Our strategy is straightforward and simple—we plan to Embrace, Encourage, and Empower—with the goal of helping them to realize the simple truth that they are exactly what God had in mind when God made them.
But as Father Greg has discovered through his work at Homeboy, “…much stands in the way of this liberating truth. You need to dismantle shame and disgrace, coaxing out the truth in people who have grown comfortable believing its opposite.”
There is no us and them
To be honest, there is no us and them—“there is no daylight to separate us— there’s only us.” We belong to each other—we are all kin—and in that spirit of kinship, we should live our lives as Jesus would if he were us—not as a man for others, but as one with them. “In this way we are able to reach in and dismantle those messages of shame and disgrace and rearrange the language so they can imagine themselves as somebody, letting their souls feel their worth.” (Boyle)
The past no longer matters
“All this,” Father Boyle continues, “in the hope that once they inhabit this truth that their past no longer matters, they rediscover their loveliness, and nothing is ever the same.”
Can I get an AMEN?