I finished a draft of “Whisper on a Scream” on a Sunday. That Monday morning started a series of interactions that seemed to be the work of a screen writer. About a hundred yards from the pictured flag, I ran upon a young man I hadn’t seen in months. This was the first of three consecutive morning encounters with black guys that I’ve become friends with through the years. One by one, youngest to oldest they came with a brief, but impactful message. It was like a movie unfolding before me.
About the same time each morning, my routine brought me in contact with someone I hadn’t seen since the pandemic shut down. It was good to catch up with how they were and what was going on in their lives. Twice, I initiated the conversation, and the other started with a wave from across a parking lot.
My knowledge about and relationship with each of these guys varies. One thing I know that each of these men share is that they are overcomers. Each has a unique story that includes a significant challenge, physical or social, that they have overcome. One may be quiet about his past and his desire to be the change he wants to see. Another is quite open and vocal about where he’s been and the different life he now leads. But each of them touches the lives of those around them in words and by example; influencing others to make good life choices. One focuses on youth, another on young adults, and the other on older people.
In each case, their past gives them credibility to those who may say, “But you don’t understand where I come from.” Their present provides a stage from which they don’t shy away. Their futures look promising because of the desire each has to be better than the person they used to be. Their legacy is without limits as each them, in their own way, is dedicated to better life for themselves and for the lives of others they influence.
My life is richer because of the opportunity I’ve had to get to know Marcus, Dewayne and Tyrone. I’m grateful that God has put them in my life. I’m sill a bit awed by the fact that He led me to them on consecutive mornings when I thought I was just out for my normal morning exercise. During this time of unrest and heightened awareness, it was good for me to be personally reminded of just how much Black lives matter.
It’s been a month since I penned the initial draft of “Part Two”. The weather drove me back into the gym for a workout this Thursday. When Tyrone stopped to greet me, I told him about my plan to publish this draft. We talked about racism and its impact. He mentioned how important the police are and how we should consider more training rather than defunding as a way to help them be more effective.
At this stage of life, much of Tyrone’s time is spent helping people who are hurting or in need. After acknowledging it was God’s grace that made the change in his life, he looked at me and said, “Publish it”.