The Problem with Old Rusty Cans

Dear Friends:

Years ago in a book by Jamie Buckingham there was a powerful example.  Imagine a lake that has a smooth surface.  The water is still and as you stand on the bank you can see your reflection in the water.  Suddenly an old rusty tin can pops to the surface.  Ripples are created and the water is disturbed.  When this happens you can’t see your reflection.  Now if you want a smooth surface on your lake there are several options.  One is to just ignore the can.  Of course this spoils the view and everyone can see the old rusty can.  Secondly, you can get a long pole and attempt to push it back to the bottom and stick it in the mud.  The problem here is that sooner or later it will again pop to the surface.  Again, not a long term solution that is effective.  Thirdly, you can just remove the old rusty can.

It seems pretty obvious that this example applies to all of our lives.  We all have things that suddenly pop to the surface and need to be dealt with.  The problem that many people, especially, men and women we deal with spend much of their efforts on options one or two.

Lately we have been dealing with the issue of anger.  Almost every man or women we deal with have anger issues.  Some are more verbal that others, while some keep it all inside.  We have been exploring the roots of their anger.  In every case it traces back to their home life.  They have never learned how to deal with issues from the past.  As they thought about our lessons they could see how they had moved from the anger into addictive behavior.

One of my staff had a pool cleaning business for many years.  He told me something about water in pools and hot tubs that I found very similar to the example about the lake, especially as it relates to working with individuals in recovery.  He said that a hot tub can look immaculate to the naked eye.  However, in the water there are things you can’t see.  He also explained that there is a solution that binds all oil and other muck in the water together.  This solution then draws these things that are unseen to the surface.  When these scum bubbles come to the surface they can easily be scooped off.

What this means for recovering addicts is that they do need to break from addictions, they also need to move forward in dealing with the “rusty tin cans” that have been shoved back down into the muck and mire at the bottom of their lake.  Most people realize that unless the root causes are dealt with they will just live life waiting for the “rusty tin can” to pop up.  To accomplish this takes time and effort.  The men and women constantly thank us for all we do.  They asked me to convey to the donors how appreciative they are for your supporting what we do.  I thank you.  You are the most giving community that I have ever been associated with.

I receive many phone calls from individuals and groups asking what we need most.  I would have to say our greatest need is prayer.  Having said that I will go on to say that the Mission always needs food and clothing.  Food donations in smaller size cans are given to low income non homeless families in food boxes.  Food donations in larger #10 cans are used in the Mission kitchen.  Gently used clothing, especially men’s clothing, is an ever growing need as we are serving more and more homeless men these past several years.  At this time, we also have a  need for financial support.  We cannot use donated clothing or blankets to pay the electric bill.  We wish the mortgages on the Mission could be paid with sacks of rice or canned goods.  But the bankers are adamant.  They want cold hard cash!!!  We do need a new cargo van.  Our small flatbed died and the cargo van (2007) has had a transmission and engine replacement over the years.

Your past support has been amazing.  Thank you for being understanding.  I thank you for your kind support.

Sincerely,

Bob Marchant