The night I hit rock bottom, sittin’ on an old bar stool
He paid my tab and put me in a cab, he didn’t have to
But he could see I was hurtin’, oh I wish I’d got his name
‘Cause I didn’t feel worth savin’, but he saved me just the same
That day out on the water when the fish just wouldn’t bite
I put my pole down, floated around, it was just so quiet
And I could hear my old man sayin’, “Son, just be still”
‘Cause you can’t find peace like this in a bottle or a pill
From a bar stool to that Evinrude
Sunday mornin’ in a church pew
In a deer stand or a hay field
An interstate back to Nashville
In a Chevrolet with the windows down
Me and Him just ridin’ around
Sometimes, whether I’m lookin’ for Him or not
That’s where I find God
Sometimes late at night, I lie there and listen
To the sound of her heart beatin’ and that song the crickets are singin’
And I don’t know what they’re sayin’
But it sounds like a hymn to me
No, I ain’t too good at prayin’ But thanks for everything
Well, I do that a lot well, I do that a lot
That’s where I find God.–Song by Larry Fleet
When working at The Ranches, it is simultaneously plausible to find massive evidence of God and also to translate and rationalize the events in the kids lives to mean that there is no God. I choose the former and sometimes the kids choose the latter. While not what I would choose in their position, free will giveth just as freely as it taketh away.
For me though, I see God everywhere in this place and in this work. I see Him in the easily recognizable ways like sunrises and sunsets, but I also find Him in other – less noticeable places.
- Like in the employee that drives 70 miles each way every day to be a part of what we do…even after going out and finding plenty out there beyond the gates.
- Like in the guy who will drop everything to help with anything if you only ask; and he’ll never make you feel like a burden or inconvenience when he helps.
- Like in the insecure woman on staff who writes beautifully, but can’t see it for herself.
- Like in the kids who grew up here and found enough reason to return and pay their experiences forward.
- Like in the barn where you can’t hear much but the sound of your own thoughts – both the self-affirmations and the self-devastations.
- Like in the kid who hears “good night” for the first time in what feels like a lifetime.
- Like in the words “good job” and “I’m proud of you” that may enter a child’s ears and mind for the first time.
- Like in the staff kids who’ll never feel like I did and do.
- Like in the mom that wants to raise her kids here, but not in our program.
- Like in those that find a sense of belonging here…maybe for the first time in a long time.
- Like in completed classes.
- Like in the former locksmith working to unlock broken souls in this new career.
- Like in the guy who has done most everything but finds meaning in food for others.
- Like in the gal who came her with a horse trailer and became a great mom to a couple of ornery but great boys.
- Like in the woman who came here to work with lost souls and found her boys.
- Like in the misfits and the outsiders who can’t seem to stay on the outside and don’t quite seem to not fit here.
- Like in all the marriages that found out that they can be better when working together.
- Like in the lady that came here with a bit of a broken soul and found out that she’s allowed to be angry, to find her voice and to finally find a great friend and some comfort in being herself.
- Like in the vet(s) who find in us a little piece of what they lost when they left the military.
- Like in the scared kid that can finally stand up for themselves and to people that they find worthy of their anger.
- Like in the kid who wants to go to medical school despite a horrible past and painful story.
- Like in a wife that decided to help me understand that God did indeed have a plan for me and that I wasn’t worthy of being deprioritized and unimportant.
- And, for me, in the voices of my own children when they stand tall and stand in the face of generations of dysfunction that they had no connection to.
I find God just about everywhere I look, but I also work with people – mostly adults – who can find the awful and the devil in just about anything that they decide to look at. You have the choice each day to be someone that the kids can find God in, or you can be someone that validates that the devil is the only person never to abandon them. We should always choose wisely, but this choice is particularly important.
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