Relevents: Major Beth Muhs
Major Beth Muhs of The Salvation Army’s Manhattan Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC), talks about the importance of a smile and the lessons she’s learned from coming full circle in her life.
When I was born, my parents were officers at the Manhattan ARC. Today, I live in the same quarters where I slept as a newborn. In these hallways, I learned to talk. I took my first steps on the roof of this building, which overlooks New York City’s skyline. Later, when I was in 7th grade, my parents were stationed at the Erie, Pa. ARC, which took in young Vietnam veterans who were addicted to opiates and other drugs. In the ARC, some places were off limits to me. One day, someone shouted “run into your father’s office and stay there!” because a drug misuser was having a dangerous and violent reaction to withdrawal. Sixty years later, God’s plan has brought me full circle—right back where I started.
The theme of The Salvation Army ARCs is “Where healing begins.” When you see faces light up during a chapel service, or someone shares a life story for the first time in front of an audience, you know healing has begun. Just as my life came full circle, we try to return men and women suffering from addiction to a healing place at the ARC. God created them—unique and with flaws. The ARC is a place to seek, find, and come full circle.
I’ve witnessed God’s great healing powers at the ARC and in my life. I had a constant cough. After meeting with several doctors, a specialist recommended an MRI. Unexpectedly, the doctors found six herniated discs in my back, two of which were deformed and seeping into my spinal cord, which required surgery. Even though at the time I was pain–free, a fall could have left me paralyzed from the neck down. I had a much deeper problem than the cough. Thank God, looking into it saved me. God is also physician to our souls. Small issues, such as anger or frustration, are like that cough. When we look deeper, we receive His healing in a way we would have never imagined.
During a service in January, I sang for what is likely the last time. Disc surgery required going through my neck and passing my vocal chords, permanently changing them. So, for my last solo, I sang “In the Presence of Jehovah.” I took more breaths than I usually do, and I could feel God blessing me as I sang. Singing is my passion, but God knows I will worship Him in any way I can. Whether it’s with my voice, or carrying a dry erase board and markers, I will always sing to Him in my heart.
The people are my favorite aspect of New York City. I see so many faces. I want to be where they are and to do all I can for them. Sometimes, I feel as if they’re drawn to me as much as I am to them. During open–air meetings, people invariably talk to me about what God means to them. Walking in the city, I smile when anyone makes eye contact. Everyone needs a smile, whether they’re homeless or going about their business. When someone arrives at the ARC, I want a warm smile to greet him or her.
interview by Hugo Bravo