My time with my young friend yesterday underscored my conviction about the importance and blessing of relocation as a strategy to reach the people that you feel called to minister to. Had I not lived in Glenwood and I had seen Sherman on the corner, he would have been just another punk on the street, a small-time dealer that I wish would get lost. But knowing him, having some semblance of relationship with him, changed that. It led me to talk to him, to have lunch with him, and by doing that, I got to know his friend as well, moving him from “punk” to “person” in my categorizing mind. Also, I keep thinking about the other guys on that strip, their life consisting of dealing and getting by, and I am so sad. I know, now, that they use to be little kids. They have moms and dads and grandmas. They want a better life than what they have. They are not faceless dealers, problems to be erased.
And it’s interesting how these guys who are dealing, supposedly to get paid and make money, don’t seem to have the best living situations. It’s not like their business is moving them out of the projects, into nice houses or better cars. The guys on the street level persist in the same circumstances while those over them, I imagine, prosper.