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thoughts & writings

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

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

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.

Disturbing the Geese (peace)

July 8, 2020 | By | 2 Comments

In 2019, Denver was given express permission from state and federal agencies to mitigate the growing nuisance of a pest. They started a round up and euthanize program and were able to rid the city of over 2000 geese.They then donated the meat to nonprofits serving the poor around the city. This is what it looks like to treat a pest. When you have a moth infestation in your home, or an animal living in your attic, you call someone and remove the issue. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to deal with a pest like the Canadian Goose. It is a protected species meaning it maintains rights that other pests don’t. There is a city to convince that this is a problem. There is also a group of people who believe that the goose has the right to be here just like we do and that maybe we should find better ways to accommodate them and all the issues they carry with them. This is a big and costly job; PR campaigns, legal work, and coming up with a good enough reason to deal with the issue. It’s no joke. In the end the parks are more welcoming without so much poop and the Geese seem less crowded. Who knows, they might all be enjoying some greater quality of life? Read More

Welcoming God Within

June 29, 2020 | By | No Comments

By Joyce Buteyn-Garrett

One of the many things that I have appreciated throughout my career with Dry Bones Denver is the way the organization has created sacred space for “being” in intentional quiet at our Tuesday staff meetings. We begin each meeting with an extended time of silence. As staff, filled with together-ness and gratitude, we give quiet opportunity to each individual’s possibility. It is also a time where we each have a choice to connect with God within. Often this brings clarity and understanding to the “doing” of the week ahead and the space to share how we perceive and give meaning to both our individual and collective mission vision for the work before us. Next to my Sunday morning Quaker meeting, I’d have to say that this weekly devotional time is a sacred cornerstone that nourishes and fuels the “being” and the “doing” of my life. Read More

Words from a Safe Distance

June 15, 2020 | By | No Comments

By Robbie Goldman

We walked up and down 16th Street, keeping our conversation pretty light. My friend needed to focus on those passing by as he asked them for spare change. We moved quickly as he found it less awkward for people when they could either lower their gaze and move along or decide to help him out with some change.  

I noticed we seemed to have some powers similar to Moses as the red sea of humanity parted upon our approach. What was it that we were doing to cause such a reaction?  

My friend, aware of the situation, started announcing as we walked, “What if I told you this is my pastor I am walking with? Would that help!?” He loudly stated this phrase over and over for several blocks. Still, it only seemed to increase the  biblical power of  our sea parting ability, because now, people were moving completely to the other side of the street.  Read More

Do not forget in the Light what you learned in the Darkness ….

June 9, 2020 | By | No Comments

American author, Joseph Bayly wrote, “Don’t forget in the darkness what you learned in the light.” A statement intended to give us courage in hard times, reminding us that the truths we knew in the light still hold true in the darkest of times when they are harder to see and feel. Words to give hope.

But what if we shifted that sentiment?   

We are halfway through 2020. January came with its usual somber chill. But we knew spring was just around the corner and with it would come warmth and growth and gathering. This spring however, brought us a different picture. Rather than the welcome we had become accustomed to, spring came rolling in with a global pandemic. Instead of excitement for the new and warm and beautiful, we were met with fear and isolation. Darkness.  

And then, while we were captured in our homes, unable to move away from the social media and news outlets that had kept us company these past months, we watched in horror and sorrow as a human life was snuffed out. Right before our eyes. As the days since have unfolded, the devastation of systemic racism that has long plagued our land exploded. Darkness.   Read More

Living in the Essential

May 26, 2020 | By | No Comments

In the past two months, I think I’ve heard, read, and said the word essential more times than I did in all my pre-COVID-19 years combined. It will be interesting to see if and how the word essential will occupy a more everyday place in our lexicon after all this is over.

For the time being, we seem to have gained a new appreciation and respect for that which is essential and for those who have been deemed essential. As we witness an economy long supported by the consumption of nonessential commodities begin to crumble after only a few weeks of pressure, we question the value of the nonessential.

And perhaps rightly so. Our society and our very lives feel as if they’re being stripped down to the essentials, and it at times feels like a very good thing.

And yet, those of us who have the privilege of riding out stay-at-home and safer-at-home orders from the comfort of our own homes are also recognizing that we deeply crave the nonessential. We deeply desire to go get our hair cut and perhaps try Read More