Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Drama in the Night

Saturday night I went to bed at about 10:30. I awoke at 1:30 AM to lots of voices shouting and screaming using the most explicit words imaginable. Charlie (my dog) and I sleep in a bedroom in the back of the apartment. We hear lots of yelling, sirens, cars screeching and trains going by. Both Charlie and I have grown accustomed to it so that even with this extreme shouting that sounded almost like a riot, neither of us got up. Charlie didn't even bark. But when I heard about five gun shots, I decided to go to the living room window at the front of the apartment and see if I needed to do anything. There were about fifty young people embroiled in a huge fight in front of my apartment. Several of the young men were wielding baseball bats and two by fours and they were beating each other up. Evidently someone had shot a gun into the air and some of them were beginning to scatter.

I wandered what it must be like to be the mother or grandmother of one of those kids, knowing they are out there and not knowing how to stop them from being there. Anything could happen.

A 21-year old boy from the neighborhood recently was released from prison and has been hanging out at our offices. Today Bill and I were trying to find out what dreams he has for his life. He couldn't think of anything. I finally asked him when in the last week he had felt the most positive about himself and hopeful for the future. He said it is when he is with us at the Breakthrough Joshua Center. You can almost sense the fear in him that if he goes back out there it is only a matter of time, statistics indicate less than 90 days, and he will be back in prison. I told him that he should keep coming by and helping out around the center. It's a safe place for him, a place where he is beginning to feel hopeful.

Please pray for him and for the young people who were out there Saturday night. I really believe many, if not most, of them would not be hanging out on the street if there were alternatives for them. They just need safe places where they can begin to dream for their future and experience positive life change.

1 comment:

thaberean said...

I agree. This week our 9th graders worked on a persuasive essay written to city leaders about gun violence. You wouldn't believe how many of them stated that youth need a place to hang out. I read some of their essays and shared with them that at a recent mtg w. the alderman, the alderman shared how a pastor (who didn't even live in the city) wanted to put a church on the site of a business that closed. This alderman commented that there are 150 churches and 100,000 addicts in this community. Instead, the alderman wanted to put up a bowling lane or skating rink so the youth could have a safe place to hang out. Can you believe the pastor was furious, and threatened to rally against the alderman????