2023 July #1
By a Joy Junction Staff Member (JBF)
Most people have experienced something deeply hurtful or painful in a relationship – within a family or friend circle, a job setting, or any other kind of circumstance. Sometimes, that type of traumatic event marks the brain and heart so deeply, it affects every other thing in their lives.
It’s a hard hurdle to overcome. There are times when it even changes the direction of a person’s life goals. Such pain can even alter the way a person speaks, or doesn’t speak, to others.
The trust level has changed, if it is even present at all.
Each person in that position has the option to become someone who sees everyone as untrustworthy, and chooses to carry the load of pain on their back everywhere they go…letting the pain define who they are…
Or, they can choose to let it go and feel the freedom that comes with that option.
With that freedom comes a new way of dealing with life. The hurt and pain does not instantly dissolve away, but with each new day, something positive can come out of choosing a healthier way of dealing with the situation.
It’s something to stop and think about, for sure.
One of our male guests had this to say:
“I am homeless because I fell into a deep depression after my wife divorced me.
All at one time, I lost my whole life…
…my home, my car, my money…and my job.
I wound up on the streets, and stayed there for a very long time. My depression moved me to try to end my life several times. But, each time, my conscience would not let me.
One day, I met a woman who seemed to be in the same situation as me. She truly seemed to understand my pain. We became very good friends. She gave me hope and a reason to live again. The closer we got, the more we decided to try to get help. We were both financially unstable. When we heard about Joy Junction, we decided to give the place a try.
We are very happy to be here, and feel blessed to be able to receive three meals a day and a safe place to sleep at night. The program’s Bible study has been a great source of nourishment for our souls, too, and it’s strengthening our faith.”
Becoming homeless because of someone else’s decisions is extremely painful and is usually a huge wake-up call.
What will happen now?
Where will I go?
How will I eat?
Who will hire me?
There are many, many questions that fly through a person’s mind when they find themselves in a homeless situation.
We get all kinds of responses from those who show up on our campus. Some are terrified, some feel humiliated, some are angry, some are accusatory, some feel embarrassed, some are searching… But, most of all, they are unsure of their future. The unknown can be a scary thing.
However, the unknown can also be a chance to have a new start in life.
There are times when we think about the many people who have entered our doors and have left to go on to pursue a new life, transformed from the homeless life they had led before.
Many of them chose not to let their station in life (being homeless) define them.
They are the ones who did not want to carry the burden of their pain on their backs. They struggled through it, one day at a time.
They worked hard to find a job and saved money until they could get a place of their own. We were just a short “stopping off place” for them. Thinking about those “stories of progress” warms our hearts.
Sometimes, we receive information from a former guest, like the following paragraph, that uplifts our spirits. This note was sent to us by a lady who found herself unexpectedly homeless:
“You helped me in a time of desperation. Several years ago, I was without a roof over my head and you provided. I needed food, and you provided. I only stayed for two weeks, but I very much needed your help.
I will be forever grateful! Thank you for all you do! Best wishes, T”
Because of many stories like this, the founder of Joy Junction, Jeremy Reynalds, was recognized as an important member of society and was given a “day of honor” by the mayor, celebrated on July 17th each year. That beautiful action prompts us to remember all Jeremy has done to help the homeless in our area.
We will continue his legacy as long as we can, with the help of compassionate people, like you, who care about the homeless as we do. We appreciate all the many donors over the years who believed (and still believe) in our mission to help turn homeless lives around.
Unfortunate circumstances happen sometimes. That’s just the way it is. We are here to help!
Let’s join together and work toward stopping homelessness, one life at a time.