Hitting Home
August 30, 2017

PoliceLights Prw

 

Last night a 15 year old African American kid was murdered in his home by another 15 year old friend. I’m not sure what started it, as details will emerge eventually, but it ended in murder.

I see this all the time on television. You do too. Newscasters reporting the murder of teenagers by other teenagers. Mostly gang related, but not always. We shake our heads and say “tsk, tsk” or “how awful” then turn the channel because we are tired of bad news.

This was different. This was my neighbor. His yard connects with mine. He walked past my house on the way to school, or to play basketball. But I didn’t really know him.

We’d nod and say “hi”, or sometimes just nod. We’d had issues in the past, some problems in the neighborhood that were associated with him. The police knew him. I had talked with him. But I didn’t know him. I mean I never invested my time to get to really know him.

And for the first time, instead of saying “this is awful”, I am saying “this has to stop”. I have worked with teens for over 30 years. I have seen very troubled youths, confused youths, but usually very angry youths. White kids, black kids, rich kids, poor kids, male, female, and those trying to figure out what they are. Confused.

Suicide is the number three killer of teens. Murder is number one. The kids are killing each other. It has to stop.

It’s not a gun issue. It’s a heart issue.

I wonder if I would have presented Christ to him if he’d still be alive? Would he have made better decisions? I wonder if I would have even mentioned the freedom that comes from knowing Christ personally if it would have made a difference? What if I had prayed more than I did or if I stopped him along his walk, if it would have made a difference?

People ask if I’m afraid in this neighborhood. No. It just reinforced something I already knew. This is my missions field. This is where I am to be. To bring hope and light to a dark part of the world.

While others may sit in their ivory towers, I am not permitted to do so. I see troubled teens all the time. Suicidal teens. Angry teens. And hopeless teens. Teens without hope. And how can I not bring Christ? I can’t. I have to bring Him to a dying world, a dying generation of teens who feel that death is better than life.PoliceLights PrwSomewhere a mother is crying because her son is dead. Not just somewhere, but next door.

 

Advertisements

The Day the Laughter Died
August 14, 2014

Of course everyone is fascinated with the death of Robin Williams. The tragic reality of all this is that this great comedian, possibly the greatest, has done the one thing he tried to spare us from. That is, he made us feel sad.

The world has enough sad. I think that is why comedians are so desperately needed in this world. The George Carlins, the Bill Cosbys, the Richard Pryors, and lets go way back,  Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Jonathan Winters, Carol Burnette, the great comedians all brought us to a place of being disengaged from this crazy world for a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours.

I heard someone say that all comedians have a dark side, demons that they fight, and this causes the great comedy they produce. I also heard that Seth Myers said that you don’t have to have those demons to be a truly great comedian. I agree.

Robin Williams suffered from depression. If you look at the drug abuse of John Belushi, Chris Farley, and others who have died from an overdose, I’m sure they were self medicating their depression. And I understand also that Robin was raised Episcopalian and others said he became atheist. I would be suicidal too if it wasn’t for Christ. This world is nuts.

The point, the tragic reality, the painful bright spotlight that his death has caused to shine on is that our enjoyment of life is not based on others making us happy or our trying to make others happy. 

I have worked in the mental health/drug and alcohol field for thirty years. I have yet to fully understand the magnitude of depression. I have yet to get a grip on the depressed feeling that causes one to kill themselves, or at least attempt to. I have yet to lose hope that life will get better. I have yet to understand also how people use the depression to excuse their behaviors. I have yet to feel insignificant in someone’s life.

When Robin died, Jack died. The Genie died. Peter Pan died. Popeye died. And all this comedic genius that portrayed these characters died. And it left us with the thought, “how could this guy who made so much laughter now cause so much pain in others”?

But see, that’s what we think about in these times. We think not so much what he did to himself, but look what he did to me. And when we think about it, what did he do to us that would make us so mad?

He took with him some of our innocence of our childhood. And we can never get it back.