Blog Entry



Sometimes we want to be alone.  We want to find a place where there’s nobody around so that we can have some peace and quiet.  After a long day at work dealing with everybody else’s troubles, we just want a quiet place where we can think, even for just a few minutes.  After a day of chasing the kids around, there are few things as comforting to a mom than some time relaxing in a warm bathtub.  Being alone for a little while can be good for the heart and soul.  But there are other times when being alone is painful and scary. 

Sometimes we find ourselves all alone, and not by choice.  When that happens, we can feel abandoned, forgotten, or unwanted.  I recall a homeless man who frequented an alley in Downtown Richmond, behind the parking deck where I parked my car while I was at work.  He would stand in the alley several yards back from 5th Street and watch for people passing by.  Sometimes as people walked by his alleyway he would shout at them loudly.  He rarely said any recognizable words, just a loud yell.  He never did anything to harm people.  I never saw him pursue anybody.  He would just shout at them.  I wondered about his behavior for quite a while before a thought came to me.  I wondered if he was shouting just to see if people would respond.  Maybe he felt all alone and didn’t think people even knew he was there.  Maybe seeing people jump from being startled by his yelling gave him assurance that they did hear him.  Most people, myself included, had always walked past him on the street, not saying a word to him and avoiding eye contact, pretending he wasn’t there.  Aside from people’s startled reflex to his shouting, this lonely homeless man had very little interaction with people.  Despite the hundreds of people who passed by him each day, he was certainly a very lonely man. 

When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, they can feel alone too.  Even when they are surrounded by friends and family who care about them, they can feel isolated.  They can feel distanced because they are no longer the person they were before their addiction took them.  The person they were has been bound and taken prisoner inside their own body.  Something else controls their thoughts and actions.  They can only watch as they find themselves doing things that they swore they would never do.  The thing that has taken over their body does hurtful things to the people they love – and they can do nothing to stop it.  Because they know that their family couldn’t understand what they’re going through, they avoid them and spend more time with other addicts who do understand.  And together they continue to submit to the craving that is slowly killing them.  When they finally muster the strength to stand and fight the addiction, they look around to find nobody who can help them.  They are all alone and without hope.  Like the homeless man in the alleyway, they wonder if anybody can see them.  “Does anybody who could help me even know I’m here?”

The team of directors and staff at New Life For Youth do see them.  We do understand.  Our residence homes are run by men and women who once felt all alone and captive to their own addictions.  They know the hurt and the loneliness because they had the same experience.  But after enrolling at New Life For Youth, they discovered the love of Jesus and His power to break the chains of addiction.  And now they have a passion to share that love with others who struggle with addiction.  An addict can feel very lonely.  But they don’t have to.  God understands their situation and we understand their situation.   Because of generous contributions from our supporters, New Life For Youth is here to help addicts find their own new life – a life of hope and a bright future.  New Life For Youth makes a difference!

One morning I left for work early and stopped by Einstein Brothers Bagels.  I bought two cups of coffee and a few bagels and brought them with me to work.  In the alleyway behind the parking deck, I met the homeless man and offered him coffee and bagels.  We talked together for several minutes.  His name was Rodney.  As we shared breakfast together, I learned that Rodney had once been a talented musician.  He enjoyed sitting outside one of the nearby churches and listening to the choir director practice on the piano.  He told me about the different places where he spent his days and nights.  Sharing coffee and bagels became a routine that Rodney and I shared together once or twice each week for several months – until one day when he never showed up.  I never saw Rodney after that and I don’t know what became of him.  But I do know that after we started sharing breakfasts together, I never heard him shout at people passing by. 

Please, consider helping New Life For Youth reach out to the young men and women who feel alone in their addictions.  Your donation will help keep our homes heated and our pantries filled with food.  A monthly donation will help us care for a young person for the year they spend in our program.  Your continued support will literally save a person’s life.  Show them that you hear them, that you see them, that you care.  Together, we can break the bonds of addiction and give hope to the hopeless and give them a new life.  Please, help us.




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