I have a glass bottle in my office that was a gift from a treasured friend. Written on the brown glass is "take a moment to acknowledge something you are grateful for." I also have a little stack of paper slips. Whenever someone asks me about the bottle, I encourage them to write down something they are thankful for and push the paper through the narrow neck of the bottle to "join" the other notes of gratitude. The simple act of stopping to think about the gifts we have been given can brighten a whole day.
One of our young boys, who has struggled mightily, stopped by my office to visit. OK, so I do happen to have bubble gum in one of my cabinets and that might be the draw. Anyway, on this trip to talk things over, he noticed the bottle for the first time and asked what was in it. I explained, and he asked if he could write on a paper. "Of course!" I told him.
This is a young man who was abandoned by his family at birth. He has mental processing issues from the drugs his mom used when she was pregnant. He is often suicidal. He has trichotillomania, where he pulls out his hair in bunches. He works really hard on his social skills, but sometimes slips into the profanity he has been exposed to his whole life. He has much healing to do and his future is uncertain.
He took a slip of paper, and the room was quiet as he carefully wrote out his thoughts. Then he tucked the paper down the neck of the bottle.
He turned and looked at me and the staff person who was with him. "Now do I tell you what I wrote?" he asked.
"Only if you want to," I said. "That is up to you."
"It was easy. I am grateful for life. Sometimes I'm sad, but life is pretty awesome," and he turned and walked away.
When a child with that much weight on his shoulders can see that life is awesome, how dare the rest of us ever complain?
These kids inspire me each day.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
P.S. Each day, over 100 children, children like this amazing young boy, find hope and healing at the Ranch. You can help by praying for our children, and by donating online at DakotaRanch.org/donate.