by Robbie Goldman

REACH (from the Dry Bones Mission)
We are freely extended beyond our familiar boundaries in order to form relationships that reveal the God-given unsurpassable worth of all involved. We hope to create intersections where people from different walks of life cross paths who would not normally meet; here, everyone belongs.

On outreach today, I saw some of my friends sitting on the sidewalk and listening to a guitarist perform beside them. The scene was very Denver-as-usual.  There were people hurrying for lunch, the crisp breeze made us all wonder why we had forgotten a heavier coat, and the constant noise of traffic and construction did its very best to drown out the guitar we actually wanted to hear. We all felt at home.

My friend “Nancy”, also known as “Drunk Nancy,” is living outside again. As I approached, she quickly put a bottle into her pocket saying, “You don’t want to see that.” She then proceeded to give me one of her famous hugs.  It wasn’t long before we were deep into conversation. Our chatting was easy, yet full of opposites. After all, our daily life experiences for the most part are completely different. While we are friends, we operate in completely different sets of boundaries. But it is here, in this out-of-bounds space, that our friendship has formed over the years. On this day, we both extended our boundaries to find this time and place.

As we talked, she asked me if crying while reading a book was silly. She has been reading a very sad book, and when she cried, the people around her made fun of her for crying. I asked her what book she was reading.

Where the Red Fern Grows,” she replied.

I told her that was the first complete book I ever read.

“I cried too. It is one of my favorite books to this day,” I said.  “The scene where Little Ann pulls her body to Old Dan’s grave is one of the most beautiful stories I can imagine.”

And then it hit me. Here we were, standing outside of our normal boundaries and sharing a profound common experience.

It was a moment that would have been easy to miss.  I knew right then that our friendship was not built on have-and-have-not status or us-versus-them, but simply on “we.” We are people that desire to know each other.  We walk through life together, and we simply want to belong. We are both willing to go beyond our familiar boundaries.

My prayer is that Nancy believe more and more each day that she has unsurpassalbe worth and value. Even as she struggles with addiction, the beauty God sees in her is undeniable. To me, she has never been and will not ever be, “Drunk Nancy.” She is my friend.

The pic at the top of this post is of our friends, Faith [left] and Lois [right]. Faith passed away a couple of years back. She always loved Lois – who was like a grandmother and was a true friend. There’s no reason these two women’s paths should have ever crossed. We’re sure thankful that they did. There are so many wonderful stories of how “reach” has played out in Dry Bones’ history.