Monday, April 9, 2012

Unsung

There are times in life where we do things that we absolutely DO NOT want to do. For most of you, I'd wager that entails doing the dishes, taking out the garbage or clocking in at a thankless job. Again.

For me, dragging myself into situations I'd rather avoid usually involves me volunteering my time to some creative endeavor for some entity outside of myself.

The process is always the same. I roll my eyes and heavy sigh as someone grabs me by the arm and drags me into yet another work-for-free project.

I grumble and moan. I throw little huffy tantrums. I wonder for the millionth time how I let myself get involved in these time wastes and energy saps.

And then I love every minute of it.

This morning, I am loving every minute of interviews I am conducting for a locally-based but internationally-known service group.

I just got off the phone with a pastor in an extraordinarily large and violence-ridden city. My interview was scheduled for 9 a.m., and of course, I was all pissy about it. "How," I asked myself, "can I get off the phone as quickly as possible so I can watch episodes of Parks and Rec on Netflix?"

But--true to form--5 minutes in, I was hooked.

This man has bullet holes in his walls from gang drive-bys, but he feeds thousands of underprivileged city kids every week. With the money he raises through his church, he buys gift cards to exchange with gang members. The deal? You give me your guns, I'll give you this gift card to go buy some new clothes. In 2 years, he has collected more than 400 "street" guns.

At first, the police wanted to arrest him, because he didn't have a permit for the seized weapons. But the D.A. came to his defense. Now the program is receiving national recognition.

Because he feeds the kids of those less fortunate--some of them in prisons--gang members have even gotten behind the pastor's programs. The Son of Sam killer has raised money to help the pastor get the guns off the streets.

In a world still so full of negative, this man and his wife brave a terrain where most of us wouldn't dare set foot.

This man is my idea of redemption. This man's life shines as exemplary of those who walk the walk. Charlie Muller, you are a hero, and I thank you for continuing to remind me of why I do what I do...even if I bitch about it every step of the way.

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