“You have been treated generously, so live generously. Don’t think you have to put on a fundraising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment.”
~Matthew 10:8-9 (The Message translation)
By Kim Eppehimer, Executive Director (November 2018)
You don’t need to believe in Jesus as anything more than a really cool guy to believe the message he shared through the writings of Matthew. It’s a similar message delivered by caring people worldwide yet falling on silent ears and buried by others full of hatred. It’s a message that says, “you are enough.” We live in a society where people are constantly told they are not good enough. They have the wrong sexual orientation. They have the wrong skin color. They worship the wrong way. They are living the wrong life or making the wrong decisions.
At Friendship House, we leave our differences at the door so we can serve God’s children with love, grace and compassion. Because it’s enough to just need help.
In August of this year, Delaware experienced the highest rate in overdose deaths from opioids than ever before. Recent reports indicate these numbers are beginning to level off nationwide. Not decrease—but not increasing either. Yet I do not feel like celebrating. Yes, a stable death rate is better than an increase. It is just not good enough.
It is time for each of us to say “enough is enough” and believe we are enough to make a difference. We are not called to do it all; we are called to do our part.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”
Friendship House is one piece of the puzzle in making an impact, yet a very important piece. Our life-changing, life-saving programs in each of our ministries are critical for someone working on living self-sufficiently; living to put the pieces of their life back together; living just to live another day.
Often we feel incapable of making a difference. All you need to do is visit us for a day and see the hundreds of impacts our amazing staff make simply by being available to someone in need. It can come in the form of saying yes to a bus ticket, helping to get an ID or birth certificate, giving away clothing after a house fire, providing sanctuary, offering motivation before a job interview, and opening our houses to let someone stay as they rebuild their life. It just takes showing up, listening, and willingness to meet someone for who they are and where they are in that moment.
I think of Friendship House as being in the business of saving lives this way: not to prevent death, but to promote living. We connect people to the love and grace of God every day simply by being there – and therefore help create a life worth living. Because hope can be enough to keep someone moving.
I think it’s fair to admit we are not always succeeding. As a society, we are failing the young man who has asked for help because his family was embarrassed about his mental illness and abandoned him. We are failing the grandmother who has custody of her grandchildren after her daughter died of an overdose and only receives a monthly minimal social security check. We are failing the men and women who live every day the best they can because they are told they are not good enough by being discarded and ignored. We are failing those who are experiencing homelessness and displacement every day.
And yet, if we are willing to show up it will be enough to move the message away from negativity and towards compassion.
You are enough. Together, we are enough.