April 28, 2015
(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)
|A chance encounter with James A. Smith on the streets of Baltimore.|
I’ll have to admit that the news last night was a real downer. Baltimore, the city of my heart, was in chaos ignited by anger and hatred. I watched business windows being smashed and buildings set on fire. Where did all this anger come from? The answer is complicated but bottom line is that the situation was depressing.
David and I had promised our Korean guests that we would give them a tour of Baltimore and we did today. By the time we rolled into the city, the National Guard was no longer on Pratt Street. In fact, compared with a normal day, the city looked like a ghost town, deflated of its vibrancy, its life.
Then I met James Smith on a street in Hampden. He told me that, in spite of what things looked like last night, he was optimistic about the city. Why? He was among hundreds of people who this morning had worked together to help clean up the mess from last night. And they were people of all backgrounds, he said, who had worked together for a common cause.
Talking with him lifted my spirits and made me think there really is hope. He told me that he is a community health organizer for Baltimarket, an organization that “focuses on food sources throughout the city to bring healthy affordable food, with a particular emphasis on neighborhoods where healthy, affordable food is more difficult to find.”
James and I have something in common. Although our ethnicity is different, we both love Baltimore and grew up in the city. He says, “I’m a survivor of the street light and all that goes along with that.” James believes he can make a difference.
“But for the grace of God, I turned my life around and made a pact with God that I would dedicate my life helping others, especially youth, to turn their lives around before they end up on drugs, in prison or die. This is why I’m so optimistic about life and life’s occurrences. If God can bless me and turn my life around, who am I not to do this for someone else? Last night was a bad scene unfortunately, but it is through these situations that change will occur in my Baltimore.”
I told him about my 365 gifts project and he encouraged me. "What you are doing through your blogging is wonderful. I hope it brings the gift of healing your way and that you use your gifts to continue to bless others. My hope for you is that God continues to bless and use you to bring smiles and healing to others." Then he added, "Please understand that our meeting today was not by accident but meant to be."
Gratitude is an attitude demonstrated in how you live.
My gift today is optimism from a stranger.
Read about Baltimarket here:http://www.baltimarket.org/
You can find links to my other posts on this project here: