Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mingo Park

I started running again on Saturday.

I haven't been doing any real taxing activity and I had to move. TO MOVE! The Mingo Park in Nicholasville is a great place: a skateboard area, basketball courts, an extreme frisby course (or whatever they call it), a fishing pond loaded with ducks and geese, and a one mile track. Rows of subsidized housing line the park, giving prime play space to all kinds of kids and families who don't have their own back yard. The park is never empty - it buzzes with colorful life.

 On Saturday I ran three miles(ish). On the first cycle around I passed two Mormon fellows trying to get a conversation going with a small group of young teens who were trying to escape.

The second time around the same five or seven kids were captured by a local 'holy man' - an East Indian fellow who wears exotic clothing and wanders around the town carrying various bags of garbage, talking to himself or yelling bits of wisdom. He was standing in front of the kids who were all sitting on a picnic table, watching, mezmerized. His voice rose and fell dramatically and he railed against evils and called the kids to some kind of higher life. I always wonder if a person like him is really crazy or is he a John the Baptist kind of fellow. I don't know.

This same 'holy man' followed my granddaughters around the library last time they were here. He kept saying, "Peace." Kyra, the most cooperative, would say back, "Peace." They told me about it in the car, laughing til they cried. "Peace!" Megan would make fun of the way her sister had said it. "Peace!"

 After my third time around I sat and watched the same boys ride the ramps and edges of the skateboard area. With elegance they flew through a routine of marvelous acrobatics. Then they would stand with their weight on one foot and act really casual like, "Sheesh. That was nothing. You should see me on a good day!"

I had the thought that God was preaching through them. Not the missionaries or the crazy holy man, but the lives of boys who can fly on a board attached to wheels. Someone's boy. Someone's lover one day, if not now. Life fresh from the womb.

I prayed that they would soar through all of life like they rode their skate boards. God help us all.


Karla said...

Loving two skateboarders very much, I appreciate this post. Some of the skaters we've met through Gavin and Guy's interest in the art/sport are some of the most sensitive, intuitive and kind people I know. Skaters also can be lonely, feeling on the fringes, neglected, skating to shut-out demons and suffering. You may appreciate knowing that one of the skaters in Nicholasville committed suicide last week. He was a young man and a very close friend of Josh Roberts who is helping lead a Simple Church, and one of Gavin's new best friends. I do share your prayer--God help us all. Your honor of those young men encourages me. Thank you!

Gavin Duerson said...

Thanks for your words (and yours too Karla :). We desperatly need for more and more folks like yourself to appreciate what these guys do. Unfortunately many of the kids don not get the affirmation you have just given them. Their parents discourage it because they think that skating will lead to drugs. Often time skateboarding to places like Mingo Park will get kids in trouble because it's against the rules/policy/law to skate in front of businesses etc. So simply skating somewhere can often end up labeling a kid as "rebellious" when really they are just enjoying the sport.

I see what you saw at Mingo Park often and I just wanted to say thanks for sharing!