I sat down in a nursing home lobby to respond to some text messages. A young African American was sitting next to me. He was on break from the heat – a grounds-keeper for the facility.

Me: “Hey, how are you doing?”

Him: “Fine, I suppose. Some pretty messed up shit out there!”

(For a moment I was taken off guard, thinking some “dogs” had left crap on the grounds he needed to clean up.)

Him: “First they knocked that brother to the ground and shot him. Then they shot that other brother, who did nothing wrong. He’s allowed to have a register legal gun, too, right?” He looked at me expecting a response. I just put my phone down and gave him my undivided attention. After a few moments, he continued.

Him: “But the real messed up shit happened last night. That dam fool shootin up them cops. That was some evil shit he did. I tell you that!” This time he stayed silent, waiting and wondering what my response would be.

Me (handing him my business card): “Young man, I do not know what to say to this stuff anymore. But just let me tell you that your life matters to me. Your life matters to God. If you ever need a reminder, that’s my number and email. Contact me!”

Him: “You’re a pastor. Dam, I didn’t know that. Sorry for all that cussing.”

Me: “Don’t worry about that. Listen to me! Your life matters!”

Him: “Can I give you a hug?”

Me: “You know it!”

We embraced. There was a tear in his eye. Mine, too

Him: “I got to get back to work”

Me: “Yeah, I got to make a few more visits.”




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