Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. — Acts 6:3 (NKJV)
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
It’s strange how the more things change the more they remain the same. I wrote this piece back in August, 2007 and the cause that summoned a group of three men together, has morphed into a monster of a demonic drug called flakka, with the same destructive behavior –to kill and destroy! The group has grown; we’re called now to face this demon who changes constantly with the same weapon whose purpose never changes, prayer (so that we may get to know God Himself) – and watch how God works.
On last week when I was face to face with ‘Terror after school’, I was sure that no good would come from this bizarre behavior. Saddened and dismayed, I began to talk to a few people who felt as I did and we decided to get involved.
First we touched and agreed; we prayed, rolled up our sleeves and took the mission straight to the heart of the action, to the streets.
The only plan we had was to get involved by trying to discourage any fights that we could. And there were fights.
After our first day we did a quick analysis and a self-check to determine our next step.
We did consider the risk of bodily harm; however, we believed that the risks were worth it. The men in the group had directly or indirectly been in contact with some of the young men on both sides of the issues somewhere in their life, either at the Boys and Girls Club, school or little league sports.
On the second day, things calmed down a bit and we asked ourselves if our presences had made a difference. Our belief going into this was that, if we could just some kind of way get a chance to talk with the young men perhaps we could open lines to communicate with them. After all, we were from the hood, also.
Something happened in the early morning hours of the third day long before we took up our positions on the streets. The event would bring our mission deeper into understanding what we were facing. About 3 a.m. Friday morning, a young Black man and father of many children, was gunned down on the same streets in the neighborhood that we are trying to make inroads to. It appears that the cycle will continue, babies reared without their fathers.
As we gathered to communicate our plan of action for that day, we found ourselves discussing the need to address the self-hatred of young Black men and the feeling of “ain’t no love in the heart of the city”. That Friday there was not one incident on the streets.
It wasn’t over; we decided that we would meet them on the “KILLING GROUNDS” where this young Black man lost his life to the ugly face of Black-on-Black crime.
We didn’t ask about the victim’s background or what he was doing at the time of his death; all we were concerned with was how were we going to get involved with this epidemic that, if not addressed, is going to destroy us all?
We met at the memorial site, made up of teddy bears, photos of happier times in the dead man’s life, candles and a water cooler container that was being used for the purpose of collecting funds for whatever reasons.
While at the memorial standing there, we did not see anyone around in the area. As we talked about the plight of Black neighborhoods and the hopelessness that our young men and women face every day, people began to stir. A young Black woman walked through our small gathering and sat down on a plastic bucket and began to caress the photo of the dead man. We inquired to who she was. She told us that she was the girlfriend of the victim. Strangers, we were invading on sacred ground. We asked if she minded if we stayed and prayed with her.
Looking up from her seat on the bucket in the center of the group with tears forming in her eyes, she nodded her head yes. As we were getting ready to pray two trucks pulled up; one contained a preacher and the other a young man who had run the streets with the victim but who has turned his life around.
The preacher finished praying and we were just standing in this place that seemed devoid of life, a valley of dry bones with trash thrown everywhere; a placed that needed the breath of God to bring it back to life.
While standing there talking free from fear, the sound of screeching, speeding tires got our attention. The speeding car pulled up and the door was flung opened. The victim’s girlfriend went to the car. The young man in the car was the victim’s baby brother. After she told him what was going on, he hesitated, collected himself and told us “Thank you.”
Now here we were standing as men, realizing how difficult it is for those who have been hardened by life’s blows to extend themselves, bypassing the fear of rejection and the thought of being put down by outsiders to say “Thank you.” We were humbled.
Never mind how we ever got this disconnected from this part of life. We can’t ever forget that we are all God’s children who need love no matter how uninviting and hardened we may seem.
What started out as one thing has now blossomed into something else. We have work to do.
To those of us who began this work together and to those who have asked to join in to help, thank you. We are doing this because it has to be done. Not for recognition, not for a pat on the back, not for anything other than it is supposed to be done.
Then he said to them, ‘’Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.’’ Luke 9:48
Will our presence make a difference? YES, because we are stepping out on faith with the hope that God would take care of everything else.
“Somebody said that it couldn’t be done, but he with a chuckle replied That maybe it couldn’t, but he would be one who wouldn’t say so “till he tried.” — From It Couldn’t Be Done by Edgar A. Guest
GOD IS MIGHTIER THAN THE LARGEST AND MIGHTIEST ARMY!