Have you heard of the Detroit Youth Choir? If you are a fan of the television show “America’s Got Talent” you have. Watch the video below. It will have an emotional impact on you I’m pretty sure.
Anthony White is their director. He grew up in inner Detroit. It was a hard life and he has many friends from those years whose lives are still very hard, if they are alive at all. But music was his salvation.
Perhaps you’ve had a musical director, an athletic coach, or a special teacher who was able to see something in you that you didn’t know was there. And because of that, you amazed yourself at what you could achieve. That’s Anthony White.
That’s also Gregory Boyle. I am reading his book Tattoos on the Heart. Wow! He is a Jesuit priest whose ministry is smack dab in the middle of the part of Los Angeles known as the gang capital of the world. He does a lot of funerals. A lot. He works with a lot of young people who everyone else has given up on. Most of them were abused and/or abandoned by their parents. They share a fatalistic view of life. Life is all about the moment. They don’t expect to be around long enough to bother thinking about the future.
Gregory Boyle has changed that for many of them. He founded “Homeboy Industries”, providing training, employment, and accountability. Also love.
A lot of them don’t make it, but there are also a lot of them like Fabian.
With more mystery than I can explain away, Fabian locked on the the singularity of that love that melts you. It doesn’t melt who you are, but who you are not. Turns out he wasn’t all the abuse he had endured. He was something else, astonishing and glorious.
Or Elias. Greg Boyle gets lots of awards, so this time he sent one of the boys he was working with to accept the award for him. Elias was terrified about having to speak in front of all those people. But he did OK.
Because Father Greg and Homeboy Industries believed in me, I decided to believe in myself. And the best way I can think of payin’ ’em back is by changing my life. And that’s exactly what I’ve decided to do. Thank you.
The thunderous applause that followed he assumed was for Father Greg. Of course, it was really for him.