I use to say that too, that people weren’t victims, that they have control over the way their lives turn out. But, after spending many years working in low income housing communities, and hearing children discuss which gangs their daddies were in, which color bandana they wore, watching their daddies and brothers and uncles get shot and killed, I will never again say this. One little 8 year old boy cried on my shoulder and asked me to pray for his momma cause he found his little sister dead in the bed. He didn’t know that Jesus could help him too. He thought Jesus was just for those other people who didn’t live where he lived. He will grow up to be a man, maybe living in the same area, maybe with the same experiences as his father. Sometimes the trauma we experience, which I have no real understanding of, undeniably shapes our futures. Some can escape the damage, but for others, its nearly impossible. I learned an important lesson. I will hold my tongue before I speak. I will search for the pain behind another’s words and actions. I will love and accept, even if I don’t understand. I have not experienced much in my life, and chances are, neither have you.