Pep Talk: “Trash Talking Buddy”

October 29, 2017

“I tried to kill myself when I was 16,” said the young man now barely of legal drinking age. He continued, “My dad’s first reaction? Too bad it didn’t work.” Wow. Are you kidding me?
Your knucklehead scribe’s heart ached in hearing, from a smart but vulnerable soul now in a Denver-area recovery program, the most powerful of many horrible childhood memories. This good dude is active in A Stronger Cord. A buddy. Personally, there’s a sobering statement used too often these days upon learning the tragic stories of those on the comeback trail from whatever ails. This ol’ jock mutters frequently, “I admire you’re still trying.”

This sports fanatic was helping me pick up trash on the Union Baptist Church campus in northeast Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. Each Monday night, ASC uses the basement gym sitting below a two-story school on the three-acre campus. In return, we keep the grounds clean. Two dudes were trash talking. One of the topics? America has too many marginalized and displaced folks. A major reason? The absence of nurturing families and mentors. We are products of our environments. If neglect, abuse and disdain dominate, the outcome should shock no one. It is rarely good. This bundle of human potential had been dealt a very bad hand. However, he’s making progress in becoming a student of the heinous experience and re-entering society with hope. 

“My counselor is amazed at my survival skills.” Amen, dude, I’ll certainly second that! As we continued the trash talk, my mind wandered to an earlier conversation about enduring life’s “thorns and thistles.” We all have them, although rarely as egregious. Regardless of the craziness defining our past, the question always becomes, “Are we going to learn from tribulations or allow a lousy past to constantly prick at the future?
What can we, as a society, do to encourage the growing number of folks who have had few, or no, guiding principles? Here comes the education received while earning a master’s degree in journalism from Mizzou: Keep it simple stupid.
What can we do? Spend time with those less fortunate. This Missouri native can’t resist: Show them a different way. In this super busy world in which we live, slow down and invest time in someone who deserves better. If struggling for ideas, please sample a free and inclusive wellness program emphasizing fitness, relationship building and community service in building a stronger cord to one another. For the past four years, ASC volunteers have been providing a sense of family that many lack in their valiant attempts to overcome terrible physical and emotional experiences. The Knuckleheads welcome you. We have a variety of fun, engaging and rewarding opportunities to serve others.

Just an ol’ fart’s opinion, but now would be a good time to heed King Solomon’s wise words muttered 3,000 years ago: “One will be overpowered, two can defend themselves but a cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
Together, for others like a trash-talking buddy, let’s replace hopelessness with hope and cherish killing any notion we don’t care.

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