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Sad, mad and violent

I'm sad and I'm mad (I'll explain the violent part later).

In the past few weeks, I've given food and shelter to three teens who've needed help.  One has a hare-brained mom who kicked her kid out two days before Christmas, and one has a AWOL mom and a dad in jail.  One has a mom hooked on drugs, and as the oldest child, has taken over the role of provider for four younger sibs. None of these kids is a joy to be around 24/7, but everyone deserves a warm bed and food, and these kids were missing those things.

Today, there is news of shootings:  a State Representative from Arizona, and then closer to home, one in West Michigan.  (That's the violence part.)

There are no apparent ties between these events, but I don't think I'm stretching it when I say that the type of deprivation I'm seeing in kids around me leads to violence.  If you don't have any way to get food, what are you going to do?  If you don't know anything but fear, shame and hopelessness, what are you going to do?  If your mom and dad don't provide the very essential things such as structure, nurturing, forgiveness and love, what are you going to do?

There is so much healing needed in our culture right now.  Much of that healing can be done right at our fingertips, if we take the time to notice it.  I'm mad and I'm sad.....but I'm also motivated.  

What about you?

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.