Some time ago on a block in Kensington, a man who I'd never met walked up to me and asked for a bottle of water, a banana, and a song sheet. He spoke of his Christian Faith with humble boldness and growing up in a Christian home there in Kensington.
Our conversation kept being put on pause as other people were coming up to me. That wasn't deterring him from telling me his story. On one occasion, someone came up to him and the two stepped away. As he was leaving, he looked back at me and said he'd be right back because there was something he wanted to talk about. A few minutes later, he was back and his story progressed…
He told me about the man on the corner "just over there" who overdosed earlier that day. When this man standing before me saw him, he told me that he rushed over to the dying man, prayed and sought help from an "out of town outreach worker who was obviously scared of me being that I look like a gangsta from the hood." The outreach worker and he did what they could to help the man. "We prayed over him."
Something within me told me not to ask any clarifying questions. Just let this man tell the story completely in his own words. There was no mention of providing Narcan or calling an ambulance. These are elements of a story such as this that you would expect to hear.
The man went on saying how concerned he was for the life of this man laying and dying on the sidewalk. Obviously disturbed by what had happened, this man was noticeably shaken by the experience.
"I felt really bad." He said as he seemed to be near tears. This moment in itself was unique for me in that this man truly did fit the 'gangsta from the hood to be feared' stereotype.
He continued and took the story further down a path I'd never traveled in any conversation with anyone in these past five years of visiting the streets of Kensington…
"I felt really bad… because I'm the corner dealer who sold him the
dope that killed him."
My words were clumsy in this unexpected moment. I tried to encourage him to look into his Faith and pray for guidance as to what he should do in light of how he was feeling about what happened…
He needed someone to know and he chose me.
James 5:16 Confess
your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The
earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful
A Story Demanding to Be Told…