I visited my cousin in New Mexico when the floods came. It was more a muddy mess than a destroyed house but parts of house were flooded. He is only 16 and still in school. He is thinking of quitting. “Fool,” I say,” What good that do? You do nutting now. You quit and you sure won’t be moving.”
“For what” he says. “I can’t get work. There’s no money. I can’t even move away.”
So I talk to him and talk to him and my friend talks to him. Nothing. Nothing we say means anything.
So I tell him what we do, where we live, the jobs we got, the youth we work with, the homeless we care for, the good times we have with our friends.
I never understood that expression of “his jaw dropped open,” but I saw it. He didn’t know what to say.
“How did u get there?” he asks. “Take me with u” he begs.
“Not till u 18,” I say. “Stay in school and come visit us on school holidays. We got there by hard work and being with people who want to stay alive. We go to Church and talk with people who want to help us because we are doing something. They gave us hints on where to stay and how to get hired. They only do that because we have a purpose. We help street people and work with youth just hanging out. We spent five years helping others and we like it.”
“You go to Church?” he asks. “How did that happen?”
“Someone asks us to go with them and we like it,” I reply.
So he is going to visit us next holiday. Maybe he can get some purpose too. And maybe a community.