Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Father Greg Boyle: I thought I could “save” gang members. I was wrong.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    13,380
    Post Thanks / Like

    Father Greg Boyle: I thought I could “save” gang members. I was wrong.


    Greg Boyle, S.J.March 28, 2017








    Photo courtesy of Homeboy Industries


    I don’t believe in mistakes. Everything belongs, and, as the homies say, “It’s all good.” I do believe in lessons learned. I have learned that you work with gang members and not with gangs, otherwise you enforce the cohesion of gangs and supply them oxygen. I know now that gang warfare is not the Middle East or Northern Ireland. There is violence in gang violence but there is no conflict. It is not “about something.” It is the language of the despondent and traumatized.
    In my 30 years of ministry to gang members in Los Angeles, the most significant reversal of course for me happened somewhere during my sixth year. I had mistakenly tried to “save” young men and women trapped in gang life. But then, in an instant, I learned that saving lives is for the Coast Guard. Me wanting a gang member to have a different life would never be the same as that gang member wanting to have one. I discovered that you do not go to the margins to rescue anyone. But if we go there, everyone finds rescue.
    Me wanting a gang member to have a different life would never be the same as that gang member wanting to have one.
    Tweet this

    Louie was 19 years old, a gang member making money hand over fist by running up to cars and selling crack cocaine. He quickly became his own best customer. After my many attempts to get him into rehab, he finally agreed to check himself in. He was there one month when his younger brother Erick did something gang members never do. He put a gun to his temple and killed himself. Gang members are much more inclined to walk into enemy turf and hope to die than to pull the trigger themselves.
    I called Louie and told him what happened. He was crestfallen. “I will pick you up for the funeral,” I said, “but I’m driving you right back.” “I want to come back,” he said through his tears. “I like how recovery feels.”
    RELATED STORIES


    Saving Gang Members from the Street? Q&A with Father Greg Boyle, SJ
    Sean Salai, S.J.




    Father Greg Boyle’s new book offers the hard-earned wisdom of former gang members
    Kerry Weber





    When I arrive at the rehab center, Louie greets me with un abrazo, and once in the car, he launches in. “I had a dream last night—and you were in it.” In the dream, he tells me, the two of us are in a darkened room. No lights whatsoever. No illuminated exit signs. No light creeping from under the door. Total darkness. We are not speaking, but he knows I am in the room with him. Then, silently, I pull a flashlight from my pocket and aim steadily on the light switch across the room. Louie tells me that he knows that only he can turn the light switch on. He expresses his gratitude that I happen to have a flashlight. Then with great trepidation, Louie moves slowly toward the light switch, following closely the guiding beam of light. He takes a deep breath, flips the switch on, and the room is flooded with light. As he tells me this, he begins sobbing. “And the light,” he says, “is better than the darkness.” As though he had not known this was the case.
    We cannot turn the light switch on for anyone. But we all own flashlights. With any luck, on any given day, we know where to aim them for each other. We do not rescue anyone at the margins. But go figure, if we stand at the margins, we are all rescued. No mistake about it.

    America





    Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
    Robert Southwell, S.J.

  2. Likes Lanie, Gingersnap, Bob Loblaw 3.0 liked this post
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    9,955
    Post Thanks / Like
    That was beautiful.
    May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
    Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
    And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
    may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

  4. Likes phillygirl liked this post

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •