For years, stability didn’t seem attainable to Roger. No matter where he went, running away from his childhood and joining the military, or starting a new life outside of Lancaster County, he couldn’t escape the same sound chasing him his whole life.
It was the sound of his mother’s voice, riddling him with self-doubt. “I heard it from my mother almost constantly, that I‘d never amount to anything, that I’d never be worth anything, I’d never be anything.” With all this noise in his head, roadblocks seemed insurmountable. Whenever something went wrong, he would hear her voice again, telling him he should just give up.
Life felt like running on a treadmill, always moving and not getting anywhere, as he lived paycheck to paycheck and fought to maintain housing. “It would stay stable for a while, start to look good,” Roger describes, “and then start to fall apart.”
It wasn’t until some members of his church reached out and paved the way for him to come to Water Street that he began to hope things could be different. “I started getting the feeling that I was being guided here, that I was meant to come here for a reason,” he says.
Roger came to Water Street hoping to end the “dysfunction.” He was ready for change, digging into the Residential Program and unraveling everything he had been taught to believe about himself. One day in class he heard a challenge that stood out to him. “Ask God to show you a picture of His love,” the teacher encouraged. He pondered, what did it mean to be loved by God even while dealing with homelessness?
An answer came a few weeks later with a simple gift: a violin. Hearing he had a love of music, his counselor found him a refurbished instrument, as a way to help him manage anxiety. But to Roger, the gesture meant so much more. “Growing up I always played violin. And even though I could never read a lick of music and still can’t, just to create the music is relaxing,” he explains. “I could do nothing but bow my head and say thank you, Lord. Thank you.”
Through classes and counseling, including his new music therapy class, Roger is learning to drown out the self-doubt by listening to a new sound. The voice of God saying “You are worth something.” Despite the trauma and hardships he’s faced in the past, he is seeing God paint a new picture of His life, filling it with images of His love and understanding.
Realizing his own self-worth has helped Roger take on more responsibility and fight for the life he wants. Now, Roger is serving as a Dorm Monitor, caring for the other men on this floor at Water Street throughout all the difficulties this year has brought. He’s preparing for a new career where he can help other men overcome their past trauma and continuing to practice his violin, listening to the sound of God’s gift to him each day.