A Life Line

Joe struck up a conversation with me as soon as he got into the classroom. A large kid, somewhere between husky and fat with a very respectful tone in his voice you don’t often hear in teens these days. As he sat down waiting for the bell to ring signaling the start of class, I noticed he was writing in his notebook. I asked him if he likes to write? He says he writes poetry a lot. I threw a challenge to him by asking him to write me something just to see what he would say.

He brought this back to me and asked me to read it and to tell him what I thought about it.

(A rap by Joe a student in the 11th grade, Winter 2009)
Hard times has me facing,
Trials and tribulations,
And every other day I strive but God
Is always patient.
So I take all that I learn into
And make sure all of my enemies stayed
Choked leaving no ventilation.
I gotta find a way to pursue my goal,
Will this thug life stop? Nobody knows.
From what I see you need to follow
The hourglass,
In order to look to the future you should
Know your past.
Hard times made me understand,
The reason for my past,
But I didn’t know what to do with
Blood on my hands,
Until I realized God really had a plan,
AND that plan was to be make me a better

I finished reading it at my desk and then called him over to ask questions. I said “thug life”, are you in a gang, of course I didn’t think he fit the profile. He answered, “yes” he and some relatives are in a Laotian gang called “TLC” in Linda Vista, CA. I was surprised! It sounds like you are talking about killing someone, “blood on my hands”. Joe says he and his relatives have killed people, his voiced trailed off – he was not bragging when he told me this. In a soft tone he added, "I've seen people shot and killed right in front of me... There’s not much hope for the kids who grow up in my neighborhood – you’re stuck". He told me he is doing everything in his power to keep his little brothers from going into the gang. He told his uncle to leave his brothers alone. He wants out so desperately. If you could see this student you would not see a gang member – no hardened by hate or revenge in him. He had a gentle spirit and a big heart. My heart was breaking just listening to his story. He genuinely wanted to share his work with me. He told me I could keep this rap, “It’s for you”. I asked him if he is a Christian he said I’m a Buddhist. I asked, “So what is your plan to get out of the gang life?” He said “My music, it’s my life. When I graduate I plan to move to L.A. to get my music career going”. He plans on going to a music school too. His notebook was full of poetry and rap – FULL.

If you could see in his eyes, the deep seeded desire to do something with his life and his talent, you would believe in him too. I told him I believe you will make it, don’t give up! Let that hate for the life you have right now drive you to pursue your talent. Don’t ever give up on your dream!

We all aren’t much different from Joe are we? We are all pursuing something. I often run into people who aren’t even aware they are in pursuit. What is your goal I ask, “Goal…just to get through life”. If you haven’t already, ask yourself what are my life goals? What passion am I not pursuing? What talent are you sitting on? For some, like Joe, your talent may be your only life source. His music is his way out of the gang life he has always known.

His talent is a lifeline from God. I believe that. God gave this chubby teen in Linda Vista a way out, He threw him a lifeline – our God is so good! Have you ever considered your talent as a lifeline from God? You know God has given us our gifts no matter how insignificant we think they are. What are you doing with the gifts God has given you? Your talent just may be the lifeline to pull you out of a horrible life situation. God cares about us so much He has thrown us lifelines for help. Is it music, acting, painting, sculpting, dance, design, fashion, writing, singing…what is it?

9 BE COOL give your comments. Share your thoughts.:

rosedale's 4head said...

love your blog and art - and i like the inclusion of 'god and art' - nice combo!!

WT Durrance said...

Thank you. Hope you follow me and come back soon.

Karin Bartimole said...

This is an inspiring story of the power of creative expression, as well as the connection with the Divine. I would find it very difficult to not what to somehow intervene - to help this young man out of the circumstances his family line is entrenched in. Faith that he already has what is needed is difficult, but he does. Passion, talent, and having supportive and encouraging people in his life like you are the best things imaginable.

Anonymous said...

REPOST - Yen Kelley: Good story. Your taking an interest in him will stay with him for the rest of his life.

WT Durrance said...

Yes thnak you...I'm sure you are right.

Anonymous said...

REPOST - Thane Sevier: I know for a fact that you can impact this youngster.....

Anonymous said...

REPOST - Bernadette Morales: My favorite Teacher was Mr Beezly, High School . He encouraged me all the time, telling me I was a true lady, and I was smart, I had a good head on my shoulders...etc, If He hadn't have been my teacher, I don't know if I would have even graduated. That is truly a ministry I believe God will bless you in touching the lives of you students.... : )

Anonymous said...

REPOST - Mia Medina Cabrales: all i can say is....WOW...

Anonymous said...

REPOST - Jenelle Hodges Durrance: Wow!! Pretty intense, deep, & very moving!

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