A little background on me.
For sake of context, it’s important for you to know a little more about me. Immediately out of college, I worked at a church helping reach children in their neighborhood in urban core of Kansas City, Missouri. During these two years, Kia and I lived and worked in this neighborhood, and we came into contact with hundreds of kids. However, it was about 25 or so regulars that I formed a really strong bond with.
Over the years, I’ve continued to keep in contact with a handful of these kids (Facebook has really helped). However, most of the children from 15+ years ago, I have no idea where they are, what they are up to or if they are even still alive.
The Friday before Christmas, I was back in the neighborhood. I was there to work to distribute food to the needy. This church connects with various organizations helping hundreds of people in the Kansas City, Missouri area. I led a group of people helping put together these Baskets of Love.
While unloading a truck of food, I was shocked to see one of my regulars – Trey.
Amazingly, Trey, other than a foot or two of growth and tattoos up and down his arms & neck, looked like the same person he was at 9 years old. Looks can be deceiving though. Trey was no longer a child (of course at 24, I didn’t expect it), but Trey had stopped being a child years before.
Trey and I spent the next hour or so reconnecting. He told me his story.
For the past several months, Trey has lived a clean life, but the years before it was shootings, drugs, robberies, jail and prison. Trey has already spent a fourth of his life in jail. It’s not what he, his family or I envisioned for his life.
A sobering encounter.
Walking away from the conversation, I was struck by a two thoughts.
1. I reap what I sow.
It’s a law of life which seems so simple. It’s so simple we lose how profound it really is.
You reap what you sow.
Trey has been living a clean life for almost a year, but his past sticks with him. He can’t find a good job. He wants to marry his girlfriend who is pregnant with his child, but he doesn’t have the money. He doesn’t have a complete education. His friends dropped him when he went to prison. The list goes on and on.
With someone like Trey, the law of sowing and reaping seems obvious. In our lives, we miss it if we don’t look carefully.
In 2011, I learned to live intentionally (in order have FREEDOM). The law of sowing and reaping is all about living intentionally. What I do today effects my life tomorrow. There is no way around this.
2. RISK is not glamorous.
My 2012 Word of the Year was RISK. Last year, Kia and I made a lot of decisions that are scary. I learned there isn’t much glamour in these scary, risky, but right decisions.
Trey made decisions that were stupid (he admits this plainly). In one instance, he got mad at someone, and fired a gun into a house. Thankfully, no one was hurt. It was RISK, and it was exciting. It was something you expect to see in a movie, but it wasn’t the kind of RISK that changes a life for the better.
A RISK that improves your life doesn’t get books written or movies made. In fact, people around you – the ones closest to you – may question your integrity or sanity or character. There is no glamour in that.
In the end, you and you alone must decide if a decision is right. Again…no glamour in that.
2013. A new year. A new word.
2012, and my Word of the Year in 2012 – RISK – is done. But if I’ve learned anything about my experience with FREEDOM in 2011, I’m hardly done taking RISKs.
Now that it’s 2013, I’ve chosen a new Word of the Year – TRANSFORM. I hope you’ll choose a word for 2013 too. I promise, it will change your life.