Saturday, September 4, 2010

Guys Night Out

About 15 to 20 young men from the neighborhood gathered around. Mike asked questions about school and such. One had graduated a year before; another young man said he was an anxious senior ready to get the year over with. Some dropped out; some were hoping to get into a job-core program. One young man said he was working to take care of his kid, and planned to enlist in the army to learn a trade. Two teenage girls passed by and I heard one say to the other, "You see? All my fellas are sitting here. They are crazy."

Out of nowhere, at least from my perspective, D-Will was present, and he rapped a little. The young men seemed captivated by him. Mike even rapped. I hadn’t heard Mike rap in years!

Mike told everyone next Thursday was going to be “Express Yourself” night, which means the microphone will be open to anyone in the neighborhood who wants to say anything. Should be interesting.

After the tables and chairs were brought in and I was getting ready to leave, I noticed Toby talking to four guys. One young man tried to explain how tough it is for him and his friends. He said older guys are in charge of the streets and there was real fear. He said he hated waking up, getting dressed and worrying about what the day would bring. Bullet shells on the pavement, drugs visible and prevalent, he said life is hell on earth.

I spoke and prayed simultaneously. I told him he doesn't have to go through life alone and that there was nothing like knowing God Almighty is with you. I said God does not dismiss his pain or circumstances. He cares. With many other words and personal stories I spoke, and he smiled.

“As you can see I’m very passionate about this.”
“I can see that,” he said smiling, slapping me up.
I held on to his hand, “But I am dead serious man. God loves you more than you can ever know. He can change everything.”
He looked down at the ground, then back at me.
We looked at each other for a solid five seconds before I let go of his hand.

I drove home in silence thinking about all of those guys. Some of them freely expressed a sense of hopelessness. 
I remember the feeling. 
Oh Lord, how You love them!