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Viewpoint from Mary Ives 06/05/11

Mary Ives
Area Director, YMCA
daffodilsSpring this year came without me noticing! One Sunday morning I looked outside in my garden and there were a number of daffodils in full bloom and the sun was shining – absolutely wonderful. I experienced a ‘good to be alive’ moment. Spring for me is a sign of hope – new life, growth re-energising the world and myself!  The same day whilst reading the paper I was struck by how depressing the news was – here and abroad. It certainly didn’t reinforce my good to be alive feeling. This led me to reflect on how my Christian values fit into the beautiful, but rather troubled world I live in
For Christians, Easter is a reminder that there is hope even when everything around seems dark and difficult.  I work for YMCA Norfolk, helping young people make positive changes in their lives by offering them positive opportunities and new starts.  The mission of our organisation is to enable the transformation in the lives of young people. dove leftFrequently I am frustrated by the lack of help some young people have received from their families and different agencies over the years. They come to us, often shell shocked at finding themselves homeless, without an income and frequently having no food. Until basic needs are met it is so difficult for the young people to even start to build good relationships with those who try to help them. Trust is sadly lacking and we find ourselves starting at a very low level with some of them before they begin to let us help them. Dove rightHaving a comfortable bed and sufficient food is a basic human need. Once we have provided this for our clients we can start to help them rebuild shattered lives. Fortunately not all of us experience such difficulties – but I think many of us know that ‘let down’ feeling which these young people have
God seems to be the one who gets the blame for many of the ills of the world. As a society we have moved towards a ‘blame culture’. We need to blame ‘someone’ or ‘something’ and of course God is the one who frequently gets the first arrows of blame thrown! However, somewhere deep inside many of us is that feeling that we need to have something to depend upon and in the fast changing world we live in the one thing that does not change is the love of God for His people. A fundamental need of people is to know love and learning to trust God can bring a knowledge o f love into shattered lives. Theologians have come up with many theories and ideas, some of which are interesting, some more way out, but the heart of the Christian message does not change as the love of God brings hope in the darkest situations. And so, as I and my team work on a daily basis with those who have had little love in their lives we are able to bring them the hope that God has given us