Son of Hope

Danny's Song

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Danny's Song
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A Statement of Facts

DANNY’S  SONG

 

Ye shall have a song in the night---

 

                           Isaiah 30:29a

 

      After last night’s Bible study class in the chapel I went to the recreation yard to spend time with my twenty-four year old friend, Danny.

 

     He and I spent our allotted 90 minutes talking about God and rejoicing in His goodness.

 

     Under the bright glare of dozens of high intensity security lights that make the aluminum razor wire perimeter fences to glitter like tinsel on a Christmas tree, we spoke about what God is doing in the lives of the men who belong to our church congregation.  And we talked about what God may have in store for Danny; he has six years left to serve on his sentence.

 

     Danny grew up in a housing project in the Bronx.  Although he had some family members who would take him to church when he was a kid, Danny told me that he found life in his home to be “too strict”.

 

     He told me that when he was a teenager he longed for the seeming freedom of the streets.  He wanted to hang out with a wild bunch of his peers who regularly gathered on certain street corners in the daytime or in the public park at night.

 

     Because of his background Danny also got involved with Santeria (a type of witchcraft) and his family’s fascination with images of supposed saints, idols, and magical incantations that they used to try to bring health, wealth, and happiness into their lives.

 

     As Danny tells it, it was assumed that he would eventually drop out of school and become a loafer.  Most of the young men in his South Bronx neighborhood were living the same way, fatalistic, and with little hope for a good future.

 

     Eventually Danny’s criminal activities escalated.  He was stealing whatever he could in order to survive.  It was a daily struggle to find cash.

 

     He told me that he even once held up a man who happened to be a Christian.  Danny said that while he was pushing his victim around the man kept telling him, “May God bless you.”  Years later this stuck with him.

 

     Then, as his unlawful conduct began to come to the attention of the police in his neighborhood, and the “heat” started to come down on him, Danny took off to stay with relatives on Long Island.  Yet he continued to steal and pull stick ups.

 

     As it goes with  almost all malefactors, however, if you continue to do illegal acts, you’re eventually going to get caught.

 

     And Danny got caught!  He was arrested and then placed in the Nassau County jail to await his trial.

 

     Facing lots of prison time in a county known for being tough on street crime, Danny decided to take a ten year plea deal.  But also while he was in jail Danny asked Jesus Christ to forgive him and come into his life.

 

     Today he is one of the stronger Christians in my congregation, and he sings in the choir, too.

 

     I am confident that Danny has a good future.  He’s also old enough and wiser now to  see the bigger picture.  That the fast life of the streets is only and illusion and a lie.

 

David Berkowitz

 July 22, 2005

 

 

2005 David Berkowitz

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