At a meeting I recently attended, a young minister told a story about his honeymoon. He and his wife wanted to do something really special to mark the start of their new life together. They were honeymooning in New England and decided that climbing a mountain nearby would fit the bill.
They grabbed some trail mix and a couple bottles of water and drove to the base of the mountain where the trail began. When they arrived, they saw signs at the start of the trail saying things like, "For expert hikers only," and "People have died trying to do this." At least that's the way he remembered the signs. They talked it over and decided "tomorrow" would be a much better day to climb. They got back in their car, went back to the inn, and watched Wheel of Fortune.
The next day, feeling more confident and prepared, the couple walked right past those signs and onto the trail. It was, indeed, treacherous. They slipped, stumbled, and clawed their way up. They were committed to making it to the top of the mountain. And they did. This was the payoff, views that would stick in their memories forever! They turned to look at those beautiful views and quickly saw that while they had been facing the mountain and earning their perch, a fog had settled in. They couldn't see beyond about 10 feet.
To make matters worse, at the top of the trail they had just ascended, another foreboding sign read, "No descent on this trail. Follow alternate route."
They had no clue where to find the alternate route. But, as they looked around they began to see pillars of rocks that climbers before them had stacked. They saw one and then another, and another, and in following those markers, they found the trailhead to take them down the mountain. They made it down safely, hiked the three miles back to their car, and had a honeymoon story that will become family legend.
As he told the story, I thought about kids at the Ranch. They work so hard to climb their mountains. They overcome trauma, fear, addiction, and depression; and now the path forward is supposed to be clear. But, life is messy and foggy. Even when we have the best intentions, sometimes we can't see where to go next, or what decision is best.
I think that is why it is so critical to make spirituality a part of our kids' healing. By developing an understanding of God's love, kids learn about hope and the markers Christ left for us. He has left piles of stones—parables and prayers—to show us the path. He lived and died to make sure we can find our way to the right trail.
So we can all return home.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
There are many opportunities to volunteer at the Ranch.
Every summer, we welcome servant teams to our three campuses to assist in keeping our buildings and grounds looking beautiful!
You can also volunteer at one of our many thrift stores or warehouses. We can accommodate large groups, one-time volunteers, or long-term volunteers.
Volunteer your time and talents today, at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, by submitting a volunteer form when you click on the image below.
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