You know those folks that people describe as,”He’d give you the shirt off his back!”? I love those people. They are always willing to lend a hand, go the extra mile, put someone else’s comfort before their own.
I had a friend in high school who, when we would get in the car on a frigid Rochester evening, turned all of the heater vents towards me. Well, I don’t now what made him think of doing that but it made me feel so worthy.
I love reading articles about these kind individuals, going out of their way to help those out in the in cold (metaphorically and literally). And people who responded with higher consciousnesss like Balpreet Kaur. This one I heard orally, from Justin’s mom, and I knew instantly that you would love it.
Unfortunately, like many stories, it starts tragic. Near the end of August, in Gates NY, 19 year old Montre Bradley was standing in line outside a shoe store where new Penny Hardaway Nike’s were to be released. He was shot dead and robbed of the money in his pocket he had saved to buy himself a pair. (They cost $300.) His family describes him as “He was a good person… He used to do a lot for people. He’d do anything for people.” (source WHAM.com) Montre had recently graduated high school, worked a full time summer job, and was headed to college in the fall to become and engineer. He would be halfway through his first semester by now.
Justin Morris, a twenty-six year old man from the city, heard about the tragedy. Being an active leader in his church, he thought it was time someone did something about violence on our streets. He never met Montre, but knew in his heart he had to do something to get the word out, to honor Montre’s life, and to inspire the violence to stop.
The Shirt Off Your Back
Justin took three pair of Nike’s from his own closet, just like the ones Bradley was going to buy. He went to the garden store, bought dirt and flowers and planted them inside the shoes and took them to start a vigil outside the store. Following his lead, family and friends added to the display by offering candles and mementos. Justin wanted to spread the message that money and material things did not matter. But life does. Life matters.
Justin says, “We need to start taking the initiative and making steps towards change. If we don’t do it, nobody is going to do it. I figured it would be an incentive to get people out of their beds, couches or whatever to do something about it. People have to come out and talk.”
Justin gave the shoes off his feet. Expensive shoes, not, the old ones in the closet that you don’t wear anymore. $300 shoes. He gave them to honor life, to say that there are things more important that money and the latest styles.
I called Justin to consult him about this post and he told me, “It is in my heart to do things. And from these thing, I end up looking at the world differently. I will no longer buy expensive shoes, they do not matter to me anymore. Life matters, people matter. It doesn’t matter what I wear on my feet.”
What a beautiful sole! (Pun suggested by Bridget at Twinisms)
Makes you want to give the shirt off your back, doesn’t it? What is stopping you?