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Doing Something

August 18, 2021 | By | No Comments

When I first arrived at Dry Bones, I felt hopeful and energetic, excited to live the kind of life I had long wanted to live—one with purpose and depth, one in which I felt like I was actually doing something in the community. I had spent nearly my whole life in school, writing paper after paper and reading book after book about people who had done something. I admit I had a bit of a savior complex at first, but I eventually realized that wanting to do something in the world wasn’t an inherently evil desire. I realized that it mattered what I understood “doing something” to mean.

In school, “doing something” usually meant achieving something tangible, getting an A on a paper, making the Dean’s list. In other arenas of life, “doing something” involved other forms of earning or striving, other ways of proving that I was capable, competent, somehow impressive. Building community at Dry Bones often didn’t feel like “doing something” in the beginning. We weren’t providing affordable housing; we weren’t solving houselessness. Relationship alone wasn’t going to alleviate our friends’ pain and wouldn’t get them a safe place to live. At times I felt disappointed, as if my anticipation for living a kind of life I had wanted to live had been in vain.

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Presence

May 12, 2021 | By | No Comments

Last week I found myself in the Denver Art Museum staring at a sculpture featuring pairs of pantyhose attached to a blank white wall in vaguely-geometric patterns. Some of the pantyhose ends were filled with sand and resting on the floor. Right outside the exhibit played a video of a woman moving, dancing, and interacting with a similar arrangement of pantyhose. In the video, a musician played lightly and gently, the dancer moving to the music. She moved her body through the spaces in between the pantyhose and the wall and occasionally picked a strand of pantyhose and moved it where she wanted it to go. As she moved, the sculpture changed.

The entrance to the exhibit featured a quote by Senga Nengudi, the visual artist known for her abstract sculptures made of everyday objects and accompanying choreographed performances whose work was featured therein.

“How do you respond? To your environment, your city, your community? What do you make of this world? How do you transform what you find into what you would like it to be?”

Recently, Dry Bones outreach staff spent some time with college students from Northwestern College through a spring service partnership. As part of our time together, we stood and each stared at one square foot of earth below our feet. This was followed by kneeling down and observing that same square of earth. Finally, we laid face down in that square and stared intently at the earth below. By the time we laid down, blades of grass grazing our chins, we had spent about 10 minutes in silence staring at the ground. Read More

Tell Me More…

February 4, 2021 | By | 7 Comments

Tell Me More About What Dry Bones Does

I was 8 when I first got sent to the principal’s office. I bit my best friend on the hand in a fight. I know, I know – awful fighting skills. My mom picked me up from school and I got a talking-to. She was angry and disappointed but eventually expressed her unconditional love to me.

I had to choose between jazz band and basketball in high school. My parents helped me think through the decision, but promised to support either choice. I chose jazz band and they came to every performance.

It was only a month after receiving my driver’s license at 16 that I got my first speeding ticket. My dad helped me figure out how I would pay the fine and talked to me about driving more safely. He even taught me the “5-over rule.” 

I remember being 17 and thinking about going to college. Where would I go? How would I pay for it? What would I study? What’s a FAFSA? My parents were there to help me fill out all the forms, celebrate my acceptance letter, apply for scholarships, and even helped me pack up for the dorm. 

I was 23 years old when I decided to propose to my girlfriend. It was obviously the biggest decision I had ever made in my life. I was young, in love, and overflowing with excitement. Sometimes we think we know and sometimes we absolutely know. I couldn’t see 15 years into the future, but I sure could see today! I just somehow knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Nikki Schweikhard. 

I went over to my dad’s office for a very important visit. I needed advice. I needed ideas on how to afford a modest ring. Of course I would go to his office to share this news and seek his wisdom. He joined in my excitement while calmly infusing his wisdom.  Read More

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance

December 30, 2020 | By | One Comment

I was seven years old when Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance was released. That was also the year that I became conscious of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit and chose to move Him to the center of my awareness. The hymn I Have Decided To Follow Jesus, which has always been one of my favorites, took on greater meaning and I found myself slipping out from the pew one Sunday morning and walking down the aisle to publicly declare the decision I’d made to put myself in the orbit of Jesus.

I was baptized by my father later that year, buried to sin and death, and raised to new life. I don’t fully comprehend the mystery of the sacraments, but I know that when I came up out of that water my reality had shifted. My old friend, that small, still voice who has always been with me, began to speak more clearly. In those conversations, those inner whisperings of truth, I began to see those places in which life is out of balance, within myself and within the world around me. My newfound awareness of the dissonance between the actuality of our experience and its ultimate potential manifested itself in the usual ways, disappointment, sadness, anger, and shame, but beneath it all ran a golden seam of hope.

I have not always chosen to accept hope’s invitation to move toward balance, alignment, and harmony with our Creator, and myself. At times I have succumbed to the slumber of despair, drifting through life, half asleep, numbing myself with whatever diversion or distraction I stumbled upon. Yet, there continue to be those moments of encounter, when the time is right, that I find myself in that thin space, on the threshold between this plane and another, and I discover again that the journey is in the return. 

I often find that it takes some bit of unpleasantness to wake me from that slumber, as the challenges of this year have served to do. It has not been an easy year, but I am disappointed, even discouraged, when I am faced with what feels like a collective desire for it to be behind us. It’s almost as if there is a desire to drift into sleep on December 31st and never wake from the dream that everything has returned to the way it was before, and we can proceed with business as usual. Read More

Generosity

November 30, 2020 | By | No Comments

By Robbie Goldman

Our waiter came over at the end of the meal and asked if we would like dessert. Glancing around the table I said with fatherly confidence, “Not tonight.” With a persuasive urge the waiter responded, “Are you sure?” followed by a long pause. He then quietly shared, “Another guest in the restaurant has already paid for your meal tonight and they insist I persuade all of you to have dessert as well.”

We will never forget that dinner and the unexpected dessert, but most of all, we remember the tug on our hearts that was created by a stranger’s generosity. We felt the desire to pass on the generosity that we felt in that moment.

Fundraising relies on this same spirit of generosity. As each year comes to a close, we begin to anticipate the needs of the upcoming year and finalize the current year’s obligations for Dry Bones. I understand the general funding overview but am thankful that several other very gifted and loving people on our staff and board keep track of the details. They steward the gifts given to Dry Bones in the most beautiful way, and I am so thankful for their ministry.  Read More

Hope

November 4, 2020 | By | 2 Comments

I was thumbing through my journal this morning, a journal that I kept in 2017 while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. I had recorded a verse that my friend Daniel had quoted to me that day during some conversation that I can’t really remember. It is a beautiful piece of poetry found in the fifth chapter of Romans. “But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us.” I really like this quote. 

It affirms, in powerful ways, the prayer that Dry Bones has been praying over this whole season. “Welcome, welcome, welcome, we welcome everything that comes to us today, for we know if it is for our healing…”  We acknowledge what happens in this world as it is, refinement. Without suffering there can be no growth. Without growth we have trouble finding reason to hope for anything better, more beautiful, or exciting. We drift into a depression as we forget who we are. If life were to become void of suffering we would find ourselves without the motivation to live and live to the fullest. We would cease to seek out good. Our lack of suffering would then seem to produce suffering.  Read More

Together From A Distance – 2020 Virtual Fundraising Celebration!

September 7, 2020 | By | No Comments

Come one, come all from wherever you are to this year’s Dry Bones Annual Fundraising Event! Not only will we raise funds to continue our important work among young people experiencing homelessness, but we will get to connect with you, our Dry Bones community. Tune in LIVE! You will be inspired through stories of life change, given a chance to ask questions during a live panel, participate in drawings for great prizes, and ultimately be drawn more deeply into the mission of Dry Bones. We hope to “see” you there!

Register Today!

Want to create even more impact? Create a Fundraising Team!

Create a team and choose the fundraising goal that you want to achieve.  You can even gather your team and watch the live event together (social distanced of course).  We will help you make it a fun night to remember with food, host boxes, swag bags and tickets for the live drawings.  

Virtual Fundraiser Participation Levels 2020

All ticket drawings will take place at the live event, must be present to win! 

Shocked But Now I See – You’re With Us

September 7, 2020 | By | No Comments

“Oh, I see! They’re with you, right?”

“Pardon?” I said. 

“That man and that woman over there. They’re taking pictures of us. Well, they’re taking pictures of you helping us poor people, right? Are they your camera crew or somethin’?” 

“Oh. No. I don’t. Well, I don’t know those people. They’re not with me. They are definitely taking pictures of us though. Hmm.”

My new young friend “Josh” yelled, “Why don’t you come across the street so that you can get that camera right in my face? How about you come closer so that you can get better pics of us poor homeless people? Come on over. You don’t have to hide!” He cursed under his breath as he claimed a blanket, a coat, a warm beanie, and some food from my car. Before sauntering off, he murmured, “Well, I’m glad they’re not with you. Thank you for the supplies.” 

I had never met Josh before today. There were others at his camp that I did know, but he was new. I assured him that I would never take photos of him like that. Never. I think he believed me? Read More

Houseless But Not Homeless

August 22, 2020 | By | No Comments

A gentleman experiencing houselessness stood with me on a sidewalk downtown and told me about how COVID-19 has impacted his life on the streets. “If a few of us start to gather together, the cops come and tell us to disperse,” he said, a restaurant patio full of people gathered together a mere block behind him. Looking around he explained, “This is my neighborhood, my home. I grew up right over there,” his brown-skinned hand pointing north of where we were standing. “Just a few blocks that way.”

This city is far more his home than it is mine. Homeless he is not. Houseless he should not be.

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Susan

August 1, 2020 | By | 2 Comments

Recently, long time outreach staff Susan Zimmerhackel retired. I look back through the past 16 years of Susan’s time with Dry Bones and it’s easy to be in awe. If you have ever met Susan, you know what I mean. She is one special, genuine, authentic, whole-hearted, selfless, dependable, determined, tiny little firecracker of a woman.

Susan doesn’t mind sharing that it was a few key women in her life whose love remained relentless during her greatest time of life change, growth, and need. These women saw the beauty of Susan’s true self and simply never let go of her. And it’s because of the love that has been poured into her life that she has the drive and the ability to pour into the lives of others in a similar way.

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There are so many great examples of Susan’s ministry at Dry Bones. Susan has laid down her life in a unique way for dozens of girls and guys living on the streets of Denver. Over and over again, she has put their well being before her own – so many people that have experienced Susan breathing the Life of God into theirs.

We will miss you so much at Dry Bones, Susan, and we loudly proclaim, “Well done! Good and faithful servant of God. It has all been worth it.” We are so excited about this next season of your life. Susan, you are my hero. I have learned so much from watching you love others. You are nothing less than one of a kind. We can’t all be like you. But we also can’t help but be inspired by you. I wish to love, see, serve, hope, and persevere with a tenth of the passion, conviction, and tenacity you have.