Seasons Greetings From Ferguson: Christmas, Second Chances, And A Fresh Start
I noticed the Neo Nazi tattoo while he was tying our Christmas tree to the car. It was right there on his muscular fore-arm: a huge Iron Eagle clutching onto a wreath, the actual swastika blurred out, as if it had tried to be forcefully removed. I was saddened and a little freaked out. How was this psycho allowed to sell Christmas trees?
He must have known I saw it because he turned to me and asked me if I knew about Delancey Street Foundation, the place we were buying our tree from. I told him I didn't and he explained that it is a foundation that helps "drug addicts, ex-convicts, homeless, and others who've hit rock bottom" get back on their feet. The guy told me he had made bad choices when he was teenager, just gotten out of prison, and was now working as hard as he could to make up for his past actions. He apologized if his tattoos scared me, said he's working to get them removed, wished me a merry Christmas, and walked back into the rows of Christmas tree leaning against the mesh wire fence of the make-shift tree compound.
I've been thinking about second chances recently, especially with all the rage swirling around the events of Ferguson. Here we have a strong community that has been ripped apart by the civil unrest surrounding the death of Mike Brown and I think everyone there deserves a second chance. Mike Brown and his family deserve someone new to look over the facts around his death. Officer Darren Wilson deserves a 2nd chance to show the world he's not a soulless racist bully with a gun. The people of Ferguson deserve a 2nd chance from the media to show the city isn't all looters and rioters - which seems to be how the media loves to portray it. The community is primed to show the world all the powerful change it can bring.
I know all this talk about second chances and such is a little crazy, especially with many wounds involving Ferguson still very raw, but now in this holiday season is a good as time as any to plot a course towards a strong road ahead. Christmas means many things to different people but for me, it's a time to close out the year strong and prepare for the coming start of a fresh new year. I hope that around this holiday season the "Season Greetings" from Ferguson can be similar to the greetings message I received when I got my Christmas Tree from the guy from Delancey Street. That second chances are available even if it may be difficult. Now is a good time to be reborn and start anew.