The kids I work with live grow up in a whole different world than the one I grew up in. Sometimes I forget that. And sometimes I’m reminded of that in a big way.
Friday night, the cousin of one of my families was shot in the head in the front yard of his friend’s house. His friend did the shooting. They were drinking and had an argument. I know them both. I was at that house just last month, with both of them.
The kids were in the yard when it happen. They were within feet. They were scared. They were confused. They thought their cousin was dead. Amazingly, he’s ok. There’s a bullet still lodged in his sinus cavity, and the doctor’s are still determining the best course of action to remove that. He’s missing several teeth. But he’s going to be ok.
What about those kids? How do you minister to kids who witnessed such a nightmare. It’s hard to sleep after that happens. The film replays in their minds over and over. “What-if’s ” come to mind often. Anger at the shooter, who they thought was a friend. Fear. Worry. Regret they couldn’t do more. The oldest, a senior in high school, got between the two men before the gun was fired, trying to break it up.
How about the shooter’s little boy? He lives with his mom at the North Grand Villas. But he was staying with is dad on Friday. He saw him pull the trigger. He saw him hauled away by the police. He’s 5 years old. Full of life. Full of joy.
These kids live in a world much different than mine. I can’t say, “I know what you’re going through,” because I don’t. Not at all.
All I can say is, “I’m here if you need to talk, scream, or cry. Or laugh. Whatever it is, I’m here.”
And I can remind them that we live in a fallen, jacked up world where grown men do stupid, thoughtless, cowardly things. And, in the midst of that, God is there. Full of comfort. Full of peace.
And to remember that the horrible things that happen – like they did on Friday night that – are the reason Jesus came.
I pray they get that.