No Room to Spare
When Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem, they could find no room in the crowded town for the Messiah to be born. The Christ took his first breath in a livestock shelter and slept in a straw-filled cattle manger. Today, times are hard for a lot of people. They live with hunger, and many have no place to call home. Gerry Geraghty and his family are trying to change this in Durango, Colorado. They have found room to spare for others in their home and lives.
Gerry, why do you and your family open your home and make room for others?
Jesus called us to love our neighbors, especially widows and orphans. There are people in our community who are adult orphans.
How did you get the idea to do this?
When we bought our home in 2001, we rented rooms in the lower level of our house. We wanted to be a good neighbor by providing people with a safe and clean place to live. In the first 12 years in our home, we rented to 60 different people. In January of this year, we focused on people who are in recovery from drugs and alcohol.
What are the benefits?
People who live in our home now have a family. As a family, we do things together. We have movie nights and special dinners. They will be helping us decorate our Christmas tree.
What are the challenges?
We now live with people who have had a lifetime of pain and sorrow from their bad choices. We have given up our privacy for their long term health.
What advice would you give others who may want to try this?
One should have patience and perseverance every day. In many ways it is like the “Underground Railroad” during the times of legal slavery in our country. The “Underground Railroad” had stations where people stayed on their journey to freedom. Only the last station saw people reach the “Promised Land” and permanent freedom. We are a station for these people in recovery. Our mission is to love and support them every day, with hope of long term health and freedom. Their stay with us many be very short term, or it could be for many years. God calls us to love them in our time with them and pray for them when they move on.
What would you say to those who think opening their homes and making room is too risky?
When you are called by God to do something, you are to go forward with confidence that God will provide what you need at the just right time. God’s timing is never late or never early. He called us to love Him and to love our neighbors. We are called to do this all the days of our lives on this earth. The greatest joy is to partner with God in His work in the lives of people.
When you opened your heart and hand to others, how did you grow?
We have grown in faith in what God has for our lives. We also see and feel the pain that people have that are lost and forgotten by our society. The following quotes from Mother Theresa and Derek Loux are foundational to what we do.
“The greatest disease and the greatest suffering is to be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, to be shunned by everybody, to be just nobody.” Mother Theresa
“I wanted something to live and die for. I wanted something to breathe and to bleed for. I’m not interested in trying to figure out ways to make my life safe and preserve my comfort.” Derek Loux
Gerry is also founder of the River Run for Orphans. Check this out at www.RiverRunforOrphans.org