As I sat in the kitchen interviewing 9 year-old Denzel* and his mother, my eye was drawn to something dark moving on the pale yellow wall. While keeping eye contact, and listening to this mother and son, I kept glancing at the progress of what I now realized was a roach making its way from the floor all the way up toward the ceiling.
Denzel had been referred twice, by two different agencies. The first was a nurse at a local hospital where he had been evaluated after saying for the second time that he wanted to kill himself. Can you imagine, I had no one to match him to. Months later, while still on the waiting list, he was referred again by a counselor who described Denzel as a bright, artistic child who likes to read out loud, loves math, and is desperate for one to one attention. I was told that his single mother of five is working and is understandably, overwhelmed. Denzel was also described as being ADHD, having no friends and getting in fights in school.
After that description, I probably expected Denzel to be sullen, or uncooperative, but I was surprised that he was very engaging, and sweet. His mom said that he has a kind heart, and doesn’t understand when the “world is not kind.” She said he wants friends so badly that he brings his toys to school to share, and then he is devastated when he realizes that someone is not really his friend, and he is teased. He gets in fights defending others, she said, and he told his psychologist that when he grows up he wants to take care of his family and be a good man. He told me that what he dislikes about school is kids being mean, calling names and teasing.
What no one knew, as I sat there, was that I had a secret. The whole reason I was interviewing Denzel was that this time I did have a mentor for whom I was searching, and praying for the “right match.” He is an engineer with the Long Island Railroad. My questions had this gentleman in mind, and as I heard the answers, I prayerfully looked for evidence that the two would be compatible.
Then Denzel looked at me with big brown eyes and said, “I hope I find somebody that likes me.”
Just yesterday, Denzel’s mom told me that she could not be happier and that they already have a beautiful relationship. “Buddy” took Denzel to NYC on the train and showed him where the engineer sits and then took him to see the Christmas windows at Macy’s. Denzel came home, she said, and talked of nothing else, and then drew a picture for “Buddy.” She took Denzel to church on New Year’s Eve Sunday, and the pastor asked for prayer requests for the New Year… she said what amazed her the most, what brought tears to her eyes, was that Denzel, who at nine years old had not wanted to live, prayed that he and his new friend would have a good year together in 2007. Please pray that for them too!