The other day in the gym as I was working out I struck up a conversation with a guy next to me about workout routines, traveling, and good places to eat around the twin cities. As we were finishing up our sets of the bench press another young man jumped in the conversation and basically started telling us his life story. How he had moved here from Chicago several weeks ago because he wanted to start a new life. He said he wanted to start a new life because he had just escaped a murder conviction several weeks prior and saw that as his sign that he needed to get away from Chicago.
He then began to tell me and the other gentleman about how he really needed to be in the gym that day because he felt the he had to work off some steam and frustration because he’d been robbed the night before. He proceeded to tell us how two people that he was acquaintances with broke into his apartment and stole fifteen thousand dollars from him. He was unable to do anything as they were armed, but he really wanted to grab his weapon and retaliate after the fact. I told him that he did the right thing in not retaliating and that he should look at it as a sign that something needed to be different in his life. He escaped a murder wrap and was robbed all in a span of three weeks.
Clearly some changes needed to be made. I looked him in the eye and told him, “Brother, if you had fifteen thousand dollars in cash in your apartment then you must still be participating in black market dealings and that was black market currency!” That was the clearest way I could say it without his business being put out there for everyone in the gym to understand. He continued to go on and tell me that he felt he was doing what he had to do because the street life is all he knew and that he was good at what he did in the streets. I told him, “Bro that’s the wrong mindset to have!” I explained to him that he may very well be good at what he does in the streets and the streets may also be all that he knows, but it can’t possibly be the only thing that he is good at in life.
I tried to explain to him that his job was to align himself with individuals or anyone who could help him find what else he was good at and maximize that gift to help provide for himself and help preserve his life. I explained that what he’s been through the past few weeks meant he needed to focus. If he's religious then he needs to know that he was blessed and spared for a reason, possibly to guide someone else out of that very life he was living. Because in essence he dodged a bullet. Many young black men that face murder charges never walk away free, even if they’re innocent. I mean honestly, there are tons of innocent people in prison for crimes they didn't commit or for simply being affiliated with someone who did commit a crime.
I kept telling him, “Brother you dodged a bullet, you don't know how lucky you are! You can only roll sevens so many times before you crap out.” I tried to tell him that no one goes to Vegas without losing a hand at some point so he needed to take his winnings, which in this case was his life, and walk away! I don't know if he will listen to me or the other brother that tried to talk some sense into him.
He seemed sincere and seemed to absorb what we were saying, even going as far as to say God puts people in your life for a reason, even if for a fleeting moment and that he believed he was supposed to be in the gym that day to listen to me and the other fella that was around talking to him. But I don’t know, I haven't seen him since. I can only hope that I haven't seen him because he’s taken our advice and run with it to change his life. What I do know is the reality is, he’s been gambling with is life and I hope he doesn't roll snake eyes before walking off with his winnings.