Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The cylce

I've realized a sad cycle that occurs with the kids I teach. They don't realize the tragedy of death. They don't realize the uselessness of violence.

I realize now this cycle has always been with my kids and I've known it is there, but I didn't really think about it until I walked into a funeral at my church and saw the face of the dead boy plastered on his friends t-shirts. He was flashing a gang sign in the photo. To them, that was honoring him. They didn't see the perverseness in the knowledge that what they were holding up as good, had been what cost him his life.

And it's always like that.

Maybe not always, but my roommate, who teaches in the same neighborhood where Karen and her sons live, pointed outthat for something like this to have an impact, it has to be unusual. And this death is not unusual because it happens all the time.

I hate that my kids view the world like this. Like death by shooting is just something that is bound to come around and you're just lucky if it's not you. That is not a life to lead. That is not a world I want to be a part of. There has to be more than that.

After the funeral Laura and I talked about Karen's second oldest son Pablo for quite some time. Apparently he's been missing in action since the death. He's running with a gang and his mom is a wreck, so it's just happening. We worry that if someone doesn't do something then she's going to be burying another son before we know it.

The thing about Pablo is that he's going to have to make a choice. He is going to have to choose to either take what has happened to his brother and make it something different in his world. Make it something unusual. Or he's going to choose to break his mother's heart all over again by falling into the same life that has already stolen one child from her. The church plans to support her and move her, but anywhere they put them, Pablo can find trouble. Pablo can find violence. Until he wakes up and realizes that enough has got to be enough, nothing will change for him.

Laura had a talk with someone from the church who I dearly love and respect and he, rather jadedly, said that this was inevitable. Single, illegal mother of six living in a bad neighborhood. Statistically this was bound to happen.

The logical side of me understands that. There are statics and numbers and logic that tell you how the world works. The faith side of me refuses to accept it. This is what redeeming love is all about. It is the idea that everything in the world can be against you and you can still be saved. It is the belief that everything can be wrong and hard and then with one choice — one sacrifice — anything can be made right again.

I will not stop praying for Pablo. I will not stop fighting for my students. They deserve to wake up in a place where death is not something typical and expected. They deserve to wake up and realize the beauty and joy in this world and the utter importance of protecting it.

There comes a point where the choice must be made between logic and faith. Between reason and hope. For many of us that choice is made all too quickly. When we allow reason to win out and faith to fade to the backside, then we only feed into the cycle these kids are already living.

We are only forsaken when we accept the world as it is and refuse to see the possibility of a change. Of a chance. Of hope. Statistics will never break a cycle like this because all they do is tell you what you already know: that it exists and that it will happen again. The only way the something like this changes is when we say enough. When we choose to look at reason and then bank on hope. On faith. When we do that, no number will matter and no cycle will continue.

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