Jonathan Kozol writes stirring non-fiction about urban characters, mainly children. If you haven't read Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope, you should and soon.
Kozol spent four years revisiting P. S. 30 and St. Ann's, both schools serving children living in the Bronx. Tough inner city neighborhoods shape the lives and the hopes of the kids and their families.
Kozol tells stories of hope in the moving book. Read it. ***
Resurrection is the theme of this day.
As a result, I've been thinking about a good friend of mine. Talk about a resurrection story of the more "ordinary" sort.
You should know Charles.
His life has been more than a trip, as he would gladly tell you. Born to poor parents in rural Mississippi, he hit the road young. I expect there is not much Charles hasn't seen, tried or been through.
I will always remember the first time I ever met him. He used a cane to walk back then--about 10 years ago now. His health seemed to be failing. His life had been hard. Fights, gun shots, knives, strung out, hyped up, left for dead, locked up, evicted, on the streets, from place to place, hospitalized for serious surgeries. . .he was in tough shape.
When I first got to know him, it struck me that he had a whole lot of street con in him. He was an artist at it too! Some of his games made people angry. I know he disappointed himself along the way. He came and went. But, he always came back to our community.
I wish you could see him now. There is a major difference in his life these days.
He still battles some health problems associated with his hard living in his earlier years. But he is doing really well.
Charles has a nice apartment. He has a wife. He has built for himself an auto detailing business that he runs primarily out of our parking lot. He has a regular clientele, all of whom have perpetually shiny cars and trucks!
He is clear-eyed, full of laughter, hooked on hope and always around. He has rediscovered faith and his spirituality, while still urban savvy and incredibly street-wise, can't be overlooked or dismissed.
Charles is a player today. . .in our community. Charles belongs to this community and the community is his in return. Fact is, we couldn't make it very well without him. I expect he would say the same about all of us who are his friends.
On a day filled with talk and music about a resurrection along time ago, my soul camps closer to the front page of the morning paper. I've been privileged to observe the miracle of Charles' life, his new life.
What a powerful experience, this "ordinary" resurrection.
[***If you decide to buy Kozol's great book, you can do so by visiting the Central Dallas Ministries' website at www.centraldallasministries.org. Once inside our site, click on Urban Engagement Books. Then go to the Amazon.com link. If you buy your copy through our link, CDM will receive a cash benefit from Amazon! You can help us by ordering all of your books through the link inside our website. Thanks for your support!]
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