Some News from the Dubuque Rescue Mission
“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it
comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you
done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?”Mother Teresa of Calcutta
A common experience shared by the men of the Mission is the feeling of drowning – barely keeping one’s head above water. Obviously, it’s a metaphor. Due to the challenges associated with addiction, mental health, physical health and trauma, they have this never ending feeling that they are just keeping their head above water – that at any moment, something could come along that would submerge them once again. As you can imagine, this would not cultivate peace and well-being. Quite the contrary, it sustains feelings of anxiety, depression and a sense of losing control of one’s life.
When I began at the Mission some 13 years ago, there was a circular life vest that had a rope tied to it – like that which would be tossed to a “man overboard!”. Instead of SS Minnow printed on it – the Dubuque Rescue Mission was printed on each side. It was a symbol of this idea that the Mission was a life-line to all those who felt they were drowning under the forces of life that were overwhelming them. Much like waves that keep threatening to pull us under. As the great gospel hymn: “When the storms of life are raging, Lord stand by Me” we take comfort in the knowledge that we are not abandoned in our most vulnerable moments – Jesus is always with us to calm the waves of destruction and chaos. Jesus calls us to be his hands, his feet, his loving eyes, is calm voice – reaching out to our brother and sister in need to grab hold – “I will pull you to safety”. That’s what the Mission does. However, without the help of each one of you, our ministries are greatly diminished.
Theologian Beldon Lane writes: “Divine love is incessantly restless until it turns all woundedness into health, all deformity into beauty and all embarrassment into laughter.” I’ve learned over time that there is a longing in all of us to be loved and perhaps the most difficult thing to believe over the course of a lifetime is that one is important enough to be loved by God. In the end, nothing makes this more credible than the discovery of being truly important to and loved by another. You are that other. Come. Be that hand that grasps the hand of another and pulls them to safety. Support our ministries. Volunteer your time and serve a meal, mop a floor, sort some clothing, play a game of cards with a resident. Hang out. Humans can’t survive without love, and the person, starved of love, drowns.
During these warm days of summer, there are times, often without warning, when the Holy Spirit creeps up on us and we’re caught with the overwhelming
feeling that we love these people we serve – that they
are ours and we theirs. The waning days of summer
are a good time to come experience that feeling and share your love with those who so hunger to know that there are people who care. May these days awaken within us the overwhelming compassion of service to the “least among us”. And then, possibly, one other person may have experienced the priceless gift of being truly important to and loved by another.
“sometimes it’s necessary to reteach a person their loveliness.” Poet Galway Kinnell
Rick Mihm and Staff of the Dubuque Rescue Mission
Summer Newsletter 2019