This is Karon, pronounced KAY-RON. He's 13 years old and stands about 4 feet high. Today at the Dream Center After school, he threw a folding chair at a much larger boy that was fighting with his older brother, Dominique.
Today started like many other Fridays. I call them "Forever Friday" because Evangeline Steele and I hit the ground running and don't stop until evening. We usually arrive at the Dream Center between 9am and 10am, I help do whatever is needed which is usually helping with the pre-schoolers while their moms attend Ladies Thrive and help set up for ASAP( the after school program) So, all that went well.
I laid Steele down for his nap there at the Dream Center around 2pm, E and I started painting a bulletin board and then around 3pm the afterschool kids started to arrive. Everything was going smooth until about 5:00pm. I was down the hall cleaning up from painting when I heard a lot of noise coming from the ASAP room, I turn and look toward the double doors that lead into the Recreation/ASAP room just in time to see Karon take his little broke hand and grab a chair then throw it! Immediately I thought "What the heck! Why is Karon throwing a chair?!" I ran down there to see Adam holding Dominique back (Karon's older brother)and then Adam carried Dominique out the door (with much resistance and fighting to get free from Dominique).
It was a fight between friends and that made it even sadder for us. We really love all the parties involved. We have relationships with these kids and when they hurt each other it hurts us.
Lorri and I talked a while back about the cost of loving children. Kids break your heart, even when they are not yours. You have to count the cost when you let a child into your heart. They bring you great joy when they achieve, succeed, repent, are gracious, kind and loving but they also break your heart when they are mean, give into temptation, hateful and unremorseful. So, for those of us who serve at the afterschool program it is a heart issue. Everyday we have to decide will we let them in. Will this child, today, be the one that I just have to squeeze? Will this girl today be the one that I talk to a little longer? Did I neglect that one? Why can I not be gracious to this one? Will I forgive that one? So many of them have quite literally captured our hearts.
But you know what is so amazing to know? They have captured Gods heart even the more. He knows they go home to an empty house, some to a home with no heat, some to abusive step fathers, prostitute or drug addict mothers or 85 year old grandmothers. God sees their potential. He cares about their future. Like Adam said today, Jason has a strong call on his life, speaking about one of the boys who attends ASAP, a boy who is in jail.
See, these kids are not "Them" they are us, they are in our hearts. We love them and God has so amazingly, graciously, mercifully allowed us to see them as He does.
Pat, Lorri, Dean and I took Karon and Dominique to Ci-Ci's pizza tonight. I grabbed Karon and kissed his head. I can't help it. He looks like a little Wesley Snipes, fights like him too. But I was just so grateful for him and Dominique and even the boy who they were fighting with, Jordan. They are good kids, I don't care what anyone says or what they may do, I believe in them. The even greater thing is, Dean talked to them after the fight and is picking them up in the morning for the block party, Pat and Lorri loved on them and talked to them about fighting. Charity took Karon into the office with Alliece, after he threw the chair and talked to him and held him while he cried. Adam was so amazingly merciful and kind to Dominique and handled the fight so well I was just amazed and Cory took Jordan aside and talked to him.
See, It's not so much that I love these kids; it's that WE love these kids. We GET to love these kids. We get to see Jesus in them and be Jesus to them and because of that there is hope for us all.