I Believe!

John 20:1-a. 2-8–“I Believe!”

Today as I caught up on thank you notes there were several extra checks addressed to me personally, with a note: “A Thank you to your friend Matt,” and one person wrote a note which said: “River, through your newsletter, your blog, these past months we were taken with the young man Matt, and how he has been your friend during your illness and struggles. This check is a gift to use for him.” So I will use them to purchase a couple of things he wants. And that is why I raised money for his foot ball team, and have written about him, he has demonstrated what a friend is supposed to do be like. And sometimes being there is difficult and painful, and scary.

I was at the hospital this morning visiting with the psychiatrist in charge of my guy in the mental health unit.  He commented he had met another young man at  a conference, in New Orleans several weeks ago. James told him of how he met me when he was fifteen, and how I was his friend. I hung out with him, did the same things he did, and worked with him to reconcile with his parents, and he went home when he was 17, and how I followed through coming to visit, hanging out with him and his friends.  James said “All I know is he is my friend, never an authority figure.”He keeps a photo of me on his desk. He is in training to be a therapist.

The Doctor told me that that is why he refers adolescents to me because I can enter their world, be their friend, be loyal to them, and yet be present to them to provide support. He also told me I was paying a big price and that it was a price few were willing to pay. He also said it was a great gift, and it was showing on me. The good doctor also said, “You scare the h. ..ll out of my interns.” and laughed.

What I do know is that in the letters and notes people praise me and raise me to sainthood, and the reality is I am as dirty as you can be, I simply love Jesus, and do what he has called me to do; What I know is I have no idea where all of this struggle is leading. I really don’t, but what I know with all of my heart  are found in the words of Paul:

“I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from

God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things or height or depth, or any other thing that is created. . .we know that God works all things together for good for the who love God, for those who are called to his purpose.” Romans 8.

Personally there is nothing black and white in my world, and I do not where all of this is leading; but the reality none of us do. With the fires in Santa Rosa, and in the southland, disasters across the globe, there are no safe spots, no guarantees. What I do know is that God is there–and once we see that we move from our tribes into a unity with everyone and provide for every one.

There are no guarantees, none what soever accept God’s presence.  And that presence is often hard to find, but it is there. I hold on to that by the grit of teeth presently, but I hold on.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164




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