Coming in from the north, the landscape is arid, barren, and boring with very little to see. Craig is located in north central Colorado and was the next destination for Impact Cares. The closer we got to Craig, the creek turns into a stream and life in the form of trees, grass, wildlife and beauty begin to catch the eye. Much like life in the community of Cedar Mountain in Craig, there is a wide variety of people who live here and call this home.
Cedar Mountain is a fairly large community and Impact Cares encountered a wonderful, rich group of people with all the challenges of life that face every community
We ended up with over 40 volunteers, the main group being, if you can believe it, a group of local ‘cheerleaders!’ And what a group they were. Comprised of the very young to high school, along with some parents and advisors, these kids knew how to work and enjoy themselves while they were at it! They stained a deck and painted two entire homes in one day, now that’s worth ‘cheering’ for!
Many of the residents we encountered also were on the ‘give me an ‘H’, give me an ‘E’, give me an ‘R’, give me an ‘O’! What’s that spell? ‘HERO.’ We had those who had recently lost spouses who were in the process of writing new chapters in their lives. Another resident was living in fear, with no hot water for months, desperately in need of a helping hand. With much grace, love and a willingness to help, Impact Cares was able to help this resident chart the first tentative steps out of living with fear and into seeing hope dawn for the first time a long time.
Then there was the ‘gang’ we ran across. Now this wasn’t your usual ‘gang’ as we tend to think of the word, but a group of 8 boys who just loved to ride their bikes and jump in and help. These guys were ‘all in.’ The ‘gang’ helped pick up trash, paint and do whatever needed doing. Every community could use this type of ‘gang!’
One resident, having lost her husband and later on that year falling and breaking a hip, quipped, “When it rains, it pours, but I just keep trying to plant flowers in the rain!” Oh if we could all have that attitude as we walk through life. Like the Yampa river valley, there are times in life where the scenery is lush, the weather is warm and life is good. However, there are also times, and we’ve all had them, where the landscape appears barren, with little life apparent. The challenge for each of us is how we respond in each of those seasons. Do we give thanks when all is ‘as-it-should-be’ and do we look to the future and outside ourselves when life is, well, barren and dry?
From car accidents to fractured families, from being a single mom pursuing a dream of becoming a nurse to not being able to get out much anymore, Cedar Mountain, like the rich, beautiful and varied landscape around it is filled with people in all stages of life. Some are experiencing the barrenness, some the well-watered places of life. You could sum up life here with the question posed by a local waitress as you come in for breakfast, ‘The usual?’ Yep, the usual!