Writings From Our Guests
many caring people…
been very blessed to meet…
words of inspiration…
to bring me to my feet…
pain seemed overwhelming…
I came into this place…
helped me start to slow things down…
recovery is no race…
and every one of you…
touched me deep inside…
feel no need to isolate…
run away and hide…
kindness and compassion…
felt by all you’re near…
briefly I have known you…
be treasured through the years.
a guest at the Next Door, wrote this poem in February and put it on
the bulletin board there. We reprint it here with her permission
* Just for Today *
things just don’t go the way you thought they should have gone. The
way you planned, the way you wished.
remember God is not to blame. People, places, things, choices,
actions all have an effect on how things are carried out.
keep grudges for too long, or give up, or let someone down, or let
God out of your life!
you’ll have to just let go!
love yourself, and the people that matter the most, and God of
forget there’s always tomorrow, Never stop caring, or try to be
~ Love Takes Time ~
The joys and pains…
Some great, some small…
When you think you’ve found a
You run into another wall…
Struggle and sacrifice…
It’s all give and take…
As we walk blindly down…
This road that we make…
Some bumps and some hills…
We’ll smooth and we’ll climb…
Love doesn’t take miracles…
It only takes time…
The Things In My Heart I
God, friends, Dads, Moms,
Grandparents, Church, Jesus, Next Door, Open Door, Life, people, the
Bible, Helping, Sheltering, Loving, Special things, White People,
Purple People, Orange People, Red People, Gray People, Black People,
Yellow People, Blue People, Pink People, All People, Good People,
Bad People, I Love Nice People, Great People, I Love Homeless, Rich,
Medium People, I Love People. All Kinds of them. Being Rich with
Love. I love being loved. I love being giving, Being who I am.
People I work with. The Deacons Conference, Michigan, hope, wonder,
Joy, music, Advice, Praying, Hymns, flowers, Hugs, Kisses, tears,
family, cars, Apartments, Bible Studies, freedom, Shopping, Dreams,
My Hero Angel, Exercising, food, Swimming, Glasses so I can see you
all, Hearing Hymns, Children, Smiling, truth, stuff, charity, Open
Door Ministries, My love for people, God and everything listed Above
and Below I love. Painting, Crafts, Sewing, Being Caring, Being
My Stay at the Next Door
When I was staying
at the Next Door Shelter I was able to go back to school to get my
High School diploma. While living there I was able to save enough
money to get my own place and bought me a car and I have a truck.
Most of the women
there was kind to me. I miss some of them. Next Door is a
wonderful place to live at. I love it there. I didn’t want to
leave, but I know my time has come for me to be responsible for
The staff there are
wonderful people, especially Ms. Moore. She is such a wonderful and
dear friend to me. Rick is a nice and warm person too. I love them
both. Thanks for letting me be part of your family.
~ Changes ~
The changes we make…
So make your choice now…
While you still
have your sense…
These man-made pleasures…
Far too easily
Where the hell are the sellers…
When your world
Who you once were…
And all you’ve
Lies hidden inside you…
Locked deep in your
Lies and deception…
Is the language
How many friends lost…
Or fragile hearts
One day you’ll see the pain…
In your loved ones’
It will cut like a knife…
When you finally
How good will you feel…
When you’re freed
from its hold…
These steps you are taking…
Quite small but
It will take a lot of patience…
To get the monkey
off your back…
But you’ll come out a richer
The monkey’s all
you’ll lack ~
Three Decades Later, A
Reflects On Her Stay At The
Thirty one years
ago I was a guest at the Next Door. I was a 17-year-old runaway who
had just left home. The staff welcomed me and made me feel safe.
Back then I was
afraid of everything. The staff had to have a lot patience with me
to deal with my fears. They did so by investing a lot of time into
my well being. Eventually I calmed down, and started trusting
My nine-month stay
was not always smooth. Like most teen-agers, I made my share of
poor choices. There was always someone to set me straight when I
counselor was there to listen and advise me. He was also there to
put me on the path in the right direction when I made poor choices.
He was always encouraging, and my greatest supporter.
The thing I
remember most about being a guest at the Next Door is the love.
Love took on many forms. The forms that stuck with me are
encouragement, faith, and discipline. Without them, I am sure my
life would have turned out much differently.
Life is full of
learning. While I was at the Next Door I learned a lot. There were
practical things. There were things about myself, and others. I
even learned things I wasn’t aware of until years later.
One of the most
practical skills I learned was how to cook. Following instructions
wasn’t difficult. That’s all a recipe is. Getting the things I
needed to fix a meal was quite a different matter.
The resident house
mother allowed me to fix dinner occasionally. She encouraged my
creativity in the kitchen. She also helped me get organized. If I
needed help, or if I ran out of some ingredient for supper, she was
always there to lend a hand. My family is still benefiting from
what I learned in her kitchen.
Another thing I
learned while a guest were some techniques on how to play the
piano. There was a volunteer staff member who took an interest in
teaching me these techniques. The things she taught me came in
handy when I started taking piano lessons five years ago.
The results of what
I learned at the Next Door are still with me today.
Lynda (Stoops) Senn stayed
at the Next Door in 1973. She now lives in the Washington D.C. area
with her husband. In 1989 she received a BA in Communications. She
enjoys writing and playing the piano.
The statue in Martin Luther
I’ve been here for as long as I
can remember watching my brothers and sisters go by,
What drives you?
Why don’t you come closer and
speak louder so I can hear you?
Do you really need the light of
day to know the days of old when I was young?
Try to walk this earth in the
way that i did…
Try to speak like i did.
I have so many questions for
My thoughts screamed out in the
cold wind on a summers day.
Who is the president, i cry…
Is he conscientious and noble?
Does he inspire love from his
people like john and bobby?
Do we revere him and draw pride
and comfort in his patriotic image?
Have we achieved world
Have we achieved peace between
If only I could walk this road
This new world of intellectual
advancement and spiritual enlightenment would not disappoint me,
Do you realize that in my day
men would beat their wives behind closed doors?
How many woman presidents have
we elected in the last four decades?
I want to know everything!
I know that we are no longer
controlled by greed as people were in my day!
Just as I know that we don’t
lie to each other, use each other for personal gain,
We don’t take people’s homes
away from them,
We don’t take people’s children
away from them,
We don’t intrude on their
Tell me something, do we do
everything we can to make sure all children are protected from
hunger and given proper education to perpetuate this wonderful
society we call America in the year 2004?
Everything i worked so hard
Everything i gave my life for,
I’ve been standing here for
four decades waiting for this day,
When I could walk free from the
brutal wake-up call that deafened out all sound,
And be a part of this beautiful
world that I helped to create.
My joy is so strong that I can
no longer remain here,
I’m stepping forward.
Who among you will be the first
to reward my faith and show me the way to the world beyond this park
that I cannot see?
To be continued…
I hear your sweet voices
Your beautiful faces are so
It seems like an eternity…
Since I last had you near…
I pray that you both
Just how I love you
That all I did while you were
Was enough you’d always
Not a day goes by without
If only in my mind…
You may never know how greatly…
I wish the past I could
I hope you both are
Wherever it is you are…
I hope one day I can start to
Your hearts in which I’ve
I wonder if you think of me…
In each day
that you live…
To only hold you in
There is nothing I
You are my greatest
To this there
is no doubt…
So many times I
wish I had…
Patience is what I need…
One day I know
Back to where you
beside of me.
PO Box 50102 Kalamazoo, MI 49005-0102