Beyond Expectations

When the SoCal ladies rallied together to put in a request for a day trip to Hollywood, we were impressed by their initiative and teamwork. We were excited with them to have a day of adventure and fun. What we didn’t realize though was how God would show up for us there and how the trip would bring some crucial truths to light.

As we piled into Goldie (our trusted mini-van), the girls were most looking forward to seeing the stars on the popular “Walk of Fame” and to catch a view of the Hollywood sign. But when we arrived, they quickly realized that the media’s glamorous portrayal of the city is far from reality.

To many, Hollywood has a reputation of being a metropolis of style and fortune. What often isn’t presented is the dingy atmosphere, the smog-clouded views, or the effects of poverty juxtaposed against enormous wealth. One of the ladies shared with us that God was speaking to her as she took in the sights. She said that it was like a veil was torn and she was seeing some things clearly for the first time.

It wasn’t hard to fine the connections between the disillusionment of the Hollywood image and many of the experiences our residents have faced. So much might appear to be one big party when you’re looking at it from the outside but be something completely different when you’re there. Still, rest assured our residents managed to have an awesome time, just maybe not in the way they were expecting. And it wasn’t just the glitz and glamour that were up for reevaluation.

As the team headed to Griffith Observatory for lunch, we enjoyed the views, but not as much as the game of “heads up,” which our staff-member Alison described as “the star of the afternoon.” She also shared how much she loved spending time with the residents outside of the home, to just play and have fun. They certainly deserve it!

After lunch, we went to the park for some rounds of “Ninja” and “Simon Says.” In between bursts of belly laughs, one resident asked, “Is this what friendship is?” We were blessed to see the ladies discover first-hand that a great time relies far more on who you are with than how much money you spend. Time in the park turned out to be eye-opening as well as entertaining, with each of them looking forward to future parties and outdoor hangouts with friends and family.

On the way home, the fun, games, and laughter caught up with the ladies, and they all fell asleep.  Staff-member Lauren said this was one of her favorite parts of the trip. The residents, who are most often engaged in the hard work of healing, had a fun day with their friends and felt safe, loved, and at peace. Lauren also made a point of sharing, “What is glamorized in our world is not real, but the most real thing is the people in front of them.” 

The trip to LA may not have been everything the residents expected. But, with the love of God and clear perspective on the way He sees things, I think we all agree it was better than we could have hoped! That is certainly true for one resident who, after the trip, said that it is so much better to be “on the other side” and to see it all clearly. Best of all, she says, “I love my life now.”

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