Trayvon Martin didn't have a chance to live his life. He will never know what is like to fall madly in love, he will never understand what a gift it is to hold a newborn child. A teenager, he was only beginning to see glimmers of what adulthood would mean. He was probably more interested in spending time with his friends, his family, and doing the things that any number of teenagers do today, talking and texting on his cell phone, working on his computer, listening to music, eating everything in the fridge, staying up late and so on.
Nobody can know what his adult life would have looked like, but if the values and compassion shown by his parents through what has to be the most traumatic and heartbreaking experience of their lives is an indicator, he probably would have grown up to be a compassionate, faith filled and loving man. When I look at recent pictures of Trayvon Martin, especially in his hoodie I see the face of my grandson, a teenager caught between the young child he was and the man he will become. His eyes are filled with questions, bravely open to experience and challenge with a smidgen of bravado.
An adult killed him, an adult who was old enough and supposedly trained enough to know never to have engaged in the situation, an adult who when in the situation should have worked to diffuse it or to reduce the amount of harm that would have occurred. The pain that Trayvon's family must be experiencing is unfathomable. When you have a teenager it only takes a little time for them to have major growth spurts in a very short period of time, hardly time at all to get used to the gangly teenager that a precious child so quickly becomes. They're bodies are bigger but the inside is still growing, learning, becoming. Trayvon was hardly out of childhood before he was so violently and senselessly taken from his family, and from this world.
What could Trayvon Martin's life have looked like? He could have become a husband, a father, the President of the United States, the person who created a cure for cancer. He could have saved a life, taught a class, climbed a mountain, written a book, or taken a picture that would take your breath away. He could have traveled, sailed in a ship, taken a yoga class or worked in a bank, any number of things. He will never have the chance to do any of these things. I wonder what Trayvon would think if he had had a glimpse of what was going to happen to him, to his life? His first thought I'm sure would have been for his family, he would want them to be okay.
I try to imagine what happened that dark and rainy night, what he thought. I try to think like a teenager, but it's been so long that it's hard to remember. I would be confused about what was happening. I would be scared. It would have all happened so fast, one minute on the phone, a stranger after me, go away, then on the ground and then … I would feel shock, pain. I would want to go home.