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I was driving down the street when I saw him. He was tall, dark, handsome, and dead-eyed. His body was hunched over, and he seemed to be moving aimlessly in the middle of the road. As I watched him stumble by my car, a rush of tears covered my face as I realized what was happening: the man had drugs running through his veins and he was lost in addiction.

I couldn't breathe. The sight of this young man standing on the corner with no hope or purpose made me want to explode with rage—rage at everything that had led him to this point and rage at myself for not knowing how to help him.

The first time this happened was in 2016 at a gas station parking lot, when he stumbled past the car and into the store. His youthful eyes darkened, almost lifeless, his head bowed low when suddenly I stopped breathing as a rush of tears covered my face—paralyzed by a broken heart.

Look around. The destruction is hiding in plain sight: see the unfulfilled potential of these drug-fueled deadened spirits—existing but not fully alive—in our homes, families and communities? So many of them line the street corners wanting-- hoping for better lives! Hear their cries: the heartbreak.

This is what happens when love and rage coil so tightly that the naked eye fails to discern between them. It is what happens when rage transcends into courage!

Overwhelmed by a sense of urgency, I leveraged and yielded any perceived or real power I possessed, expanded my community and petitioned others to join me. Eventually, we got to work: the real work of developing a leadership development program for college students called Caleb Project. The program no longer exists, but I am still connected to the young leaders who graduated from it. All grown up, these young leaders are now changing and transforming their own communities. The seed of change continues to nurture the fertile ground, breathing life into dead-eyed strangers, ensuring that the future is brighter for all of us!

A Stranger Heartbreak

By: Robin Martin

A Stranger Heartbreak
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