A wise young man was in my office the other day. We had a great chat, and he invited me to an interesting event that is a new concept – An Idea Camp. He asked me to consider talking about the high cost of being in a position like mine, as CEO of Union Rescue Mission. I instantly thought about what I could share:
- the cost of time-24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
- the price my family has paid over the years because of my commitment
- the cost to my health as I often worry and fret too much about finances
- with that, the cost of feeling the load to keep employees on the job
This is just a start to the list of the high cost of being in charge that I will share at the Idea Camp, but the highest cost came this weekend. That is the high cost of heartache. While I was away over the weekend, visiting my 15 month old grandson, I received a call that one of our original pioneer Seniors, Mary Jane, who moved into Hope Gardens on August 8th, 2006, and not only changed her own life, but helped secure Hope Gardens to receive our single moms with children later in June of 2007, had lost a long struggle with cancer. Shortly after this call, I received word that one of our former young residents had lost their life in a tragic incident in their own home. Today, I received word that one of our moms will enter into treatment for a serious, life threatening ailment, and her children will need to go into foster care just before the Christmas Holiday.
Our team had some moments of silence, tears, and prayer this morning as we met and reflected on the weekend and week’s events. One of the leaders around the table had called me during all of this and said, “I guess when I signed up for this I didn’t consider that it would sometimes involve domestic abuse, other forms of violence, and even death.
Yet, when you decide to work on Skid Row among sometimes very desperate people, that is exactly what you sign up for. That decision to work among and love people right in their desperate situations does come at a high cost. The high cost of heartache.
The good news is that with that high cost and high investment comes high returns. More often than not, in fact 65 % of the time, we see total life transformations. For me, those kinds of returns are worth the cost, and help me cope with tragic losses and the heartbreak that comes with those losses.