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  • ivanildotrindade 6:24 pm on December 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 20-something, abuse, all i want for christmas, Christ, , christmas wish, drug addiction, going home, Holidays, , Manhattan, New Year,   

    What do I want for Christmas 

    What do I want for Christmas? Nothing, if you ask me. I already got everything I need.

    My wish list for others, however, devours my sleep. Particularly for the army of young people who live in pain too great to measure. There seems to be a shortage of happy 20-something-year-old people these days. I wish that between Christmas and New Year’s all the sadness from abuse and rejection, all the horrible outcomes of ill-advised choices, and all the ticks and tricks from the overuse of drugs be suspended. And yes, I would like the abolition of sexual slavery everywhere and peace on earth too!

    I will never forget meeting a 20-something year old girl at the funeral of a friend who had died of an overdose. I asked her how she knew the deceased and she said, “From AA meetings.” “How can I pray for you?” I asked. As she wiped the tears from her cold face on that April morning, she said, “I don’t know, it’s just hard being a 20-year-old.” I pointed her to Christ that morning, the only one I know whose words carry a supernatural strength that could lift her from the deepest valley of despair to the highest peaks of bliss.

    I met another 20-something on the streets of Manhattan just this past September. Her name is Rex and I wrote about her here. I will never forget that Rex said what she wished the most was being able to sleep one more night in the room that used to be hers in her mother’s house, a place she knows she cannot go back to; a location so close to where she was sitting on the sidewalk on 46th Street that might as well be on another planet. Rex was looking for a home, but would only come to it on her own terms.

    And this last Sunday I met another 20-something. She drove over an hour to come to our church, walked to the coffee kiosk, and softly asked to speak to a pastor, as she cried quietly. Her story could fill the pages of many books. There is mental illness, addiction, promiscuity, loneliness, strangeness from loved ones, and a keen sense of worthlessness that was as tangible as the hot mocha she was trying to drink between her paused sentences.

    And one more that comes to mind, the 20-something female who approached a total stranger at Starbucks — a guy who happened was interning in my department that summer — and asked him bluntly, “My boyfriend wants to bring another girl to live with us so we can be a threesome. I am so dizzy I just came here to think. What do you think I should do?” I don’t know that these were the exact words used, but that was the gist of it.

    Which makes me wonder: Where are the hurting MALE 20-something? They are there, I am sure, they are just not talking to no one… My wish extends to them as well this Christmas.

    I know I am naïve, but if my wish comes true, could I have it extended all through 2012?

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • marlin 1:17 pm on December 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      there IS but one solution… all others fall short.
      Read Isaiah 61:1-3 SLOW.
      This IS the hope of the lost. This is the hope of the saved. UNLESS I slow down..no stop each day to daily receive the renewable peace and joy that IS the LORD WHO IS SPIRT… I too am without hope.
      If we find joy in him… then he overwhelms us with joy and if we put our peace in his hands he overwhelms us with peace but if we do not look to him then WE ARE THE LOST. If we put our peace and joy in anything else…. peace and joy WILL alude us endlessly till we, turn back. WE ARE THE LOST… ALL OF US… but as with the flick of a light switch when this Lord who is spirit comes in… IN… we are RESTORED!
      Without Christmas… God to us… we would be lost without hope… but we are not!!!!
      WHAT A SEASON THIS IS!!
      The good news is not just a clean slate which is awesome and a wonder but…. a never ending JOY and PEACE despite our world… peace IN our hearts…he came to bring PEACE IN OUR HEART and a JOY THAT OVERCOMES… OVERCOMES WHAT EVER YOU FACE!!! look to him this season and have peace and joy.
      Have a merry, merry…. merry Christmas or not… that is YOUR daily choice.

    • ivanildotrindade 3:54 pm on December 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      thanks for posting, marlin. a lot of people who read my blog do not share my faith. that is totally fine with me. what i want is a chance for dialogue, for us to hear each other out and come to our own conclusions. i am not overtly “religious” here on purpose, but i do plant my “pearls” here and there, if one cares to read carefully. this is an awesome season indeed for those who believe in Christ, but i understand that it is just another day for those who think christmas is just another chance to sell merchandise… merry christmas to you as well!

  • ivanildotrindade 12:55 am on September 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: drug addiction, heroine addction, , movement day, new york city   

    “Heroine is the only thing that keeps me from killing myself” 

    I walked 11 blocks on 5th Ave only to discover I was in the wrong place for my break out session at Movement Day in NYC today. I walked another 10 blocks, realizing I was going to be late for lunch, which was being served at the session. I began to hurry thinking I needed to get something to eat before going to the meeting point where we would start our trip to the airport in Newark.

    As I walked something on the sidewalk caught my attention — a young lady carrying a sign that read “living off compassion, please help.” She looked unkempt, distant, like a ghost or maybe a vampire (if I knew what they looked like). Her entire demeanor was disturbing. If there was a soul behind the shell of her body, I could not tell. I hesitated: Is she crazy? Maybe violent? Disturbed?

    There I was, literally only a few steps from the church where we were having this big conference about helping the poor, and disadvantaged in our cities, and especially New York City.  The irony was screaming at my face. Do I need to do something?

    I still passed by her, my heart heavy, but immediately turned around. She gave me a quick glance then looked away. I walked passed by her again, now in the opposite direction, still unsure of what I was going to do. Then I turned again in her direction, lowered myself, and said, “Have you had anything to eat?” She said, “No.” I said, “I would like to get you lunch. Where can we go to get it?” She said, “Well, I’m vegan, that’s okay.” I said, “I am sure there is a place here that sells something you can eat. I will be glad to treat you.” She said, “Are you sure?” I said, “100% sure.” She offered, “There is a Chipotle a couple of blocks away.” I thought, “Yes, Chipotle. God exists after all!”

    We walked to Chipotle, the line was as long as the questions I wanted to ask Rex, this new girl I had just met on 5th Avenue amidst signature stores, fashionable people and expensive buildings.

    I started making small talk but soon realized there would be no small talk with Rex. She told me that two years ago she gave up her apartment and a job in NYC to travel in a van to California with two friends. She lived in San Francisco, scraping by and begging by — no income, no home to speak of, no one to call on for help. Finally, two months ago, she returned to NYC — older but not wiser, broken but not mended, humbled but not changed. She is a wreck. Not even her mom will accept her in her old house.

    Rex is only 23, only a couple of years younger than my younger daughter. She believes her life has no value, she sees no beauty in herself and is convinced that everything she ever tries turns into a mess (she used another word for it). What is more, she is covered in shame for all the embarrassment she has caused her family. There will be no prep talk with Rex either. She doesn’t even believe God cares. At night, she goes to an abandoned house with other homeless friends, and there they try to mimic a semblance of an existence until they get kicked out to another ignominious location.

    But, as she repeated twice, “I have my own mattress,” as if this were the last thing she had to bring back the scraps of how things once were or perhaps ought to be. She is severely depressed and knows she must do something about it but doesn’t know where to start. Or rather, she knows but the steps are too painful to take. “If I go to a church, they will tell me to go to a shelter. And I will NEVER go to a shelter.” “Look at me. I am a mess, I can’t apply to a job anywhere.”  “I know I need God but there are certain things I don’t think I can give up.”

    You see, Rex is a Heroine addict and has been one since High School. She said heroine makes her happy. “It is the only thing that keeps me from killing myself,” she said, without hesitation. I told her about my friend whom I buried a couple of years ago. The first day I met him he told me, “I am 33 years old. My dad introduced me to cocaine when I was 13. He overdosed when he was 50. If I don’t get this under control, I will die before I hit 50.” Two years later he was dead. Rex didn’t even flinch. She said, “That’s probably what is going to happen to me.”

    I shared about the hope of Christ with her. I told her that God loves her and that He sees her as someone who has tremendous value and dignity. She was now fully interactive with me, speaking with animated eyes and asking intelligent questions. She was no longer a ghost, just a girl with an inquisitive mind. She didn’t get the whole thing about Christ — why he had to die, how his death gets rid of our sins. “That’s totally weird to me.”

    I tried my best. I told her she is believing lies the devil fed her. I insisted that she go and get help, supernatural help, to find a church, to look for friends outside the streets, to get into a rehab facility. Above all, I implored her not to give up hope. I said, “God cares so much about you, He sent me to you today to tell you that it you can still turn your life around. He loves you and He wants to restore your life so you can experience joy and fulfillment. It’s not too late, please listen to me.”

    She thanked me, profusely, and even allowed me to get my picture taken with her (above). For one whole hour I interacted with this young lady while church leaders from around the world huddled in small groups across the street, and in other buildings around the area, strategizing about how to help people like Rex who live in mega cities across the globe. I wonder if we would have learned more had we simply walked outside and talked to the homeless — eye-to-eye, heart to heart, human-to-human. But, as one plenary speaker said today, “Sometimes we care more about strategies than we care about people.” How sad (for us and for the likes of Rex).

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
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