How long ago was it: sheez--maybe five years, maybe more.
As is the case with many parishes, mine organizes fun outings for fellowship, especially in the Summer months. Here, it could be Tanglewood Saturdays, with a Picnic, or a trip to NYC; this was down the road to our local minor league baseball team, the New Britain Rockcats. I took my Godson, who was about eleven at the time. All together, adults and kids, maybe twenty people. I enjoyed the game, and the GS was enjoying hangin' with his buds; it was fun to compare live baseball at this level to the only other examples I could remember--American Legion (older kids to teens): amateurs forty years ago. As is usual, there were all sorts of promotions--kids' events, and yada yada--associated with the thing, and, as the game ended, there was to be a fireworks display; after a few hours of fun with people I know and love in the sunshine, my guard was down.
GS was down near the field, by the first base side, when I knew I had to leave immediately. I got him, and said "We gotta go." which he accepted; maybe he sensed I wasn't just being an adult spoilsport. We went through the concession area in silence, and around the high metal fences of the practice field in near dark, with the flashes and booms behind us: flickering on the walls. I was holding his hand, and realized I was doing it to remember I was nearly 60, and not 22, in the U S and not Vietnam. As we made our way back to the parking lot beyond the trees, I explained tersely what was up, and he said "Godde will take care of us". And I knew where I was. When I told his Mom, she said, "He's always had Spiritual insight."
I must say more. He's nearly HS graduation age now, and, though he acolytes, I've lost touch with him, as men sometimes, to my sorrow, do. I have tried to reach out, but little has happened. He has had serious anger issues for most of the time since, and has, according to his Mom, been violent in school more than once. He's African-American, growing up with a single Mom, and, even if he graduates, which I don't know about, it will be from one of the worst school districts in the country: under Federal court orders for decades, isolated from the money and power which are available in abundance across the town line in every direction, full of drugs and violence. He's gifted, angry, and Black, and we haven't provided him with a fair chance, and he knows it.
I'm sorry, but I don't know what to do but grieve. Should I at least hope he isn't murdered, or that he doesn't end up in jail? Or, as some of us decided in Vietnam, is it better to die or be wounded, and get it over with? I feel as if we have been swept away by the powers of this world into the pit, without any help.