Did the Cat Commit Suicide?

A beautiful cat was wandering lost in the wilderness on a cold, winter night. Snow covered the ground and the freezing temperatures, slowly but surely, began to disrupt her breathing, heart rate, and instincts. When she first realized she was lost, she panicked and frantically ran in an unknown direction hoping she would find shelter. Out of breath from running, and discouraged from not finding shelter, her emotions began to grow as numb as her frostbitten paws. Her tears of desperation were frozen to her fur, and with each struggling step she took, hopelessness began to fill her. Then, off in the distance she saw a farmhouse. She mustered the last bit of courage and hope she had within her, and moved towards the farmhouse. Both the weight of her despair, as well as the weight of the ice-covered snow sticking to her paws with each step, made her feel as if the weight of the world was upon her. And it was. Her world, seemingly out of nowhere turned from the familiar place where she was born, grew up, loved and knew so well, to an unfamiliar, cold, dark place. With each shaky step, she limped and cried out for someone to help her. And who among us, if we are honest, hasn’t wandered into cold, dark and unfamiliar places, all while never leaving a place we once knew so well?

She wasn’t experiencing a moment of weakness. She had just been strong for as long as she could. And despite all odds she made it close to the farmhouse, where to her pleasant surprise, she saw that the farmer’s truck was just a few more steps from her. With her last bit of strength, she crawled under the truck and felt the warmth emanating from the motor. Warmth, oh, sweet warmth. The warmth gave her hope, and in this hope her heart began to beat strong again. As her blood began to flow strongly through her, she leaped up, crawled onto the warm motor, and as her frozen paws began to thaw, she knew she was safe. She curled up on the motor of that truck and fell into a deep sleep.

As he always did, in the morning the farmer awoke early. After he ate his breakfast and drank his coffee, he went outside, got inside his truck, put the key in the ignition, and started the vehicle. The cat was instantly killed.

We all have needs. Sure, the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing are needs. But ask yourself, has your belly ever been full, and yet your heart completely empty? Have you, or someone you know had all the things that brought comfort on the outside, and yet, inside you felt so alone that even in the middle of crowds the loneliness was so intense that it sent shivers up your spine? We have more than the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. We need to be seen, heard, believed, accepted, loved and safe. We as humanity need one another. We are here to meet the needs of each other. It is a blessing and responsibility to thaw out the frozen needs of each other so that we don’t seek temporary warmth by curling up inside a bottle of alcohol, a bottle of pills, with a needle in our arms, or in a lifestyle that is not only destructive, but essentially suicide on an installment plan.

There are many people who are wandering lost in a cold, dark time that just one smile, one word of encouragement, one loving conversation, one afternoon spent with someone who cares – someone like you, would shine a light of warmth and love so bright that their frozen needs would instantly thaw, and you would see it, because all that has been frozen within them would melt, pour out through their eyes, rid them of their pain, and they with you, will take that seventeen inch walk from their head back to their heart. And what greater honor and purpose is there than to be there for one another to call ourselves out of the cold and darkness and back to ourselves and God?

Did the cat commit suicide? You decide.

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Transforming Poisons to Healing Medicines

There was three different groups of travelers walking along the same path at different times. Each of the groups of travelers carried offerings with them.

The first group of travelers came upon a tree that they recognized as poisonous. Because they recognized that the tree contained some poisonous elements, they motioned for everyone to go far around the tree, which they did. The first group of travelers offered avoidance

Days later, the second group of travelers encountered the tree, and they too, recognized that the tree contained some poisons elements. This group saw the tracks of the first group that went far around the tree. The second group of travelers decided to tie a blue cloth to the tree to warn future travelers that the tree is poisonous. The second group of travelers offered labels.

A little over a week passed when the third group of travelers came into the vicinity of the tree. From a distance, the third group of travelers saw the tracks that went far around the tree, as well as the blue cloth warning them that the tree is poisonous. The third group recognized that the tree contained poisonous elements, but after much prayer and contemplation, the third group of travelers decided to make camp around the tree. The tree became the center of their camp, and they shared an entire season with the tree. They learned that the poisons the tree contains can be transformed to healing medicines when cultivated with the care, patience, and the courage only love can provide. The medicine this tree produces cures sicknesses that there was once no cure for. With honor they approached the tree, and with equal honor they parted ways with the tree. Before they left, the group sang a thank you song and tied a red cloth under the blue cloth, marking the tree as whole and Holy – a significant reminder of the truth that Heaven and Earth are forever connected by the sacredness within all living beings. The third group of travelers offered relationship

And so it is with our youth and young adults: We can avoid them. We can label them. Or we can spend a season with them and cultivate relationships in love, compassion, truth and honor that will transform any poisons that have been imposed upon them back to the healing medicines they’ve been endowed with by the Creator God.

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Resisting Healing is Resisting Our Truth

Our children don’t have to grow up and become something or somebody. They’re much more than some “thing” or some “body,” they’re sacred blessings, miracles and gifts. We all are. 

The resistance I receive from some when I facilitate gang intervention training, or any other youth development training, is from those who want to hold on to the idea that there is such a thing as a “bad” kid, but there is no such thing. I’ve met hurting, deeply wounded and traumatized children, but never a “bad” one. 

Others who give resistance in my training and workshops are those who want to hold on to the view that labeling and institutionalizing our youth is a solution, but it’s not. The school to prison pipeline is child trafficking. 

Those who give me the most resistance in the training and workshops I facilitate, are those who think that transformation isn’t possible. People who truly don’t want a paradigm shift, because that would mean they’d have to make internal changes, mindset adjustments, and begin working within the causes of the challenges our youth are facing – pain, loss, trauma. And since many are unwilling to go to this space within themselves, they’re surely not willing to go there with others. 

The youth are the solution, not the problem. The challenges our society faces is not the fault of our young people in society. The challenges that the youth face in our society is a reflection of our society within the youth. 

Healing, true transformation is possible. I’ve witnessed too many miracles to be a skeptic. But it comes with and in love, compassionate correction and guidance, not punishment, prescriptions and labels. 

I was once asked, “Don’t you get tired of working with gang members and hard-to-serve populations?”

Through my laughter, I responded, “If that’s how I saw them I probably would.”

~ Walk In Beauty,

Anthony Goulet 

Dear Readers, Thank You

Dear Readers,

It’s strange for me to use the word readers is strange, because so many who only knew me, or knew of me from reading one or all of my books, eventually became friends or acquaintances. I am grateful for this journey of writing, and it’s truly a journey I never intended to embark upon, that is, until the Creator of my understanding guided me to write three books so far, and thankfully there’s another one in the works. And although the Creator of my understanding is God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, if I were to dare call myself a Christian, it would be specifically a red letter Christian – the pure love, forgiveness and service that Jesus Christ not only spoke about but lived – that is what I adhere to and do my best to follow. I am not some zealot who thinks I have the right way and others are wrong. If I see someone walking in love, then I see God, regardless of what religion, spiritual practice, what name they use to address God, or if the person has no religion, spiritual practice or particular name they use to address God, if I see, hear and feel love then I know I am blessed to witness God moving. So, my dear readers, thank you for finding benefit in what God has given me to share with you. Thank you for supporting what God has given me to share. Thank you for inviting me to your communities and embracing love together, not only in the books God wrote through me, but in our conversations, when we broke bread together, and in the love and welcoming of not only me, but my wife and children.

I truly don’t think you’ll ever understand what an honor it is to hear from you when you’ve shared that something God wrote through me has blessed you and helped you through a difficult time. I truly don’t think you’ll ever know what an honor it is when I am blessed to sit at a table, look you in the eyes as you’re holding one of the books God wrote through me, ask your name and then write a message upon the first page of the book. I don’t think you’ll ever understand it because I truly could never describe it in words. Thank you.

Readers, please know that God is real. Please know that whatever you’re going through or whatever rivers you will go through, that there truly is an All Knowing – Omnipotent – Loving Creator in you and walking with you. And for those of you who have moved from reader to friend in my life, you know that me bearing my heart and being what some would call vulnerable is not something I fear, to the contrary it’s the only way I know how to truly connect with God, myself and you. I am writing this blog post for those who need it, and simply put, because God told me to. It is a thank you to you, my readers and friends, but most importantly this is a testimony to God and God’s all knowing all loving power. Take heed and take courage.

When I began writing my first book, God, Help Me Tie My Shoes! The Sacred Contract of Fatherhood, I was living in Michigan on about a three month layoff from work, working odd jobs under the table, several months behind on rent, no working vehicle, and going to the Salvation Army once a week to get food for my family.  At the time I first began writing the book I didn’t know the difference between your and you’re, and there were so many grammatical mistakes in the book, yes, even after it was published and made public, that I beat myself up and almost lost all hope that I truly heard from God to write. I mean, how could I have heard from God to write if I made that many mistakes, right? After some more writing practice, study and research I went back and edited the book to the best of my ability, and there are still and always will be mistakes in the book. I could go back and rewrite the entire book now, especially with a much better understanding of writing, grammar and some friends who are professional editors, but I am not going to. Why? Because it’s a testimony, especially to the youth I am blessed to speak with all over this country. Despite all the mistake, my frailties, the circumstances my family and I were in when I listened to God and began to write it, that book was still nominated for a few national awards, was in the top thirty finalists in a Hay House Publishing writing competition, and was utilized by actor/author Hill Harper’s Manifest Your Destiny Foundation as a guide for youth mentors. The last words of that book were written at around 3:00 am, after having a gun put to my head while I was working full time as a gang interventionist in Dallas, Texas. Despite us, our frailties, challenges and mistakes, if we’re willing, God will pour through us a river of life to bless others with. God is real and really shows up when we bring all our brokenness to His throne of Love, Grace and Forgiveness.

When I began writing my second book, The Four, my family and I were still living in Dallas, Texas and I was still working full time as a gang interventionist on-call 24/7, and even when there weren’t any crisis calls (which was rare), I still worked six days a week with an average of sixty-four hours or more each week dealing with deep layers of trauma, mostly on the streets in uncontrolled environments, maneuvering through violence, bullets and simply offering peace to those who were willing to receive it. Where my family and I lived at the time was in the heart of where I worked, so gunshots, fights, and violence in all its forms was literally in our front yard. During those years, I was literally working and living on the battlefield, yet our home became a safe haven for many, and I have so many stories about our backyard being filled with rival gang members breaking bread together and looking at things from a different perspective that I could write and entire series of books about that alone. The last lines of The Four were written through me after my family and I moved to Montgomery County, Texas where I accepted a job offer as a Street Outreach Crisis Counselor, which I thought would be a break from gang intervention (just typing that made me laugh), I was wrong, it wasn’t a break, but that’s for another time. Those last lines were wrote near a park after handing out food, clothes, and gift cards to homeless youth a little after midnight. One by one, each of those youth opened up to me and told me of all the horror they’ve experienced in their short lives, and how they desperately wanted to know what home is, but resigned themselves to thinking they’ll never know home other than the streets. That night, after story upon story, tear upon tear, scar upon scar revealed by the youth about rape, being trafficked, hunger, and their heroic ability to hold on to something they’ve never experienced – compassion, they vowed to care for each other, and offered a generosity I’ve seldom witnessed. We cried together, prayed together, and although I was exhausted that evening, when I went home and my family was asleep, God wrote the last lines of The Four through me.  God, through that book has taken me to many places in the United States and has given me true friendships that have blessed me more than words can say. God is real and really shows up when we bring all our brokenness to His throne of Love, Grace and Forgiveness.

When God began writing my third book through me, Rain of Thoughts, which is a book of short stories and poems, I was working full time as a Street Outreach Crisis counselor, on-call 24/7, dealing with some of the most horrific, trauma-filled situations involving children you’ll ever see. Truly a calling to the ground-zero moments in the lives of youth and young adults. Many days and nights were twelve to twenty hour shifts, little sleep, little food, and run after run that I haven’t fully processed, nor do I know if I ever will. I was ran off the road by sex traffickers, had my life threatened many times, went inside more dope houses, trap houses and hotels filled with kids drenched in trauma than I care to remember. But the focus was always exclusively on God and getting the child and/or children to safety. Also during this time, my mother who almost died from not being medically treated, and sitting on a bed with a broken hip and severe infection for two weeks in Mexico had just been medically evacuated here to us. The entire process took almost two weeks of sleepless nights, endless phone calls, fundraising, and more diplomatic tape to maneuver through than I can possibly explain. After my mother was stable and getting better, my family lost most of our material possessions in an apartment fire. The organization I worked with and still do, came together and got us new beds, blankets, etc., and even provided us grief counseling, because we almost didn’t make it out of that fire. And it was after all this that God wrote the last lines of Rain of Thoughts through me. God is real and really shows up when we bring all our brokenness to His throne of Love, Grace and Forgiveness.

I am chipping away at a new book as God guides and provides the lines to me. I still work as a crisis counselor and administrator at our emergency youth shelter. During the past fourteen months, our oldest daughter, who was not sick, suddenly passed away at the age of twenty-three. The last man who I called dad passed away. A horrific crime was committed against our niece. And in my full time job, day and night, me and my coworkers carry the years and tears of the trauma of children. We break up fights, stop suicides, and get beat up pretty good on a daily and nightly basis, both physically and emotionally. Guess what? My family and I are still praising and thanking God. We’re still looking for and finding the gems, the gifts, the beauty that God always has waiting for eyes that see, even in the most difficult storms. Sure, my family and I cry and will again. We mourn and will again. We feel the numbing, inexplicable pain of a heartbreak so profound that it literally feels like your soul is shaking, and will again. Moments like that happen in this life, and those moments suck, but we don’t have to be sucked into those moments and allow those moments to become the rest of our lives. God is real and really shows up when we bring all our brokenness to His throne of Love, Grace and Forgiveness.

Dear readers, thank you. Not for reading what God wrote through me, but for allowing God to rewrite your tears and fears to smiles and love. I know, my family and I know, that some moments are hard, seemingly impossible to survive, but you will, we will, and not only will we survive, we’ll thrive. There’s victory in Jesus Christ – an inexplicable victory in simply holding His hand, and allowing His hand to guide us in every and any situation. I am not talking about religion but I am talking about relationship. No matter what challenges you’re going through, if you allow God, God will transform the poisons of the painful moments to healing medicines. God is real and really shows up when we bring all our brokenness to His throne of Love, Grace and Forgiveness.

I’ll never know enough to have conclusions. I simply toss my love, prayer, laughter and tears upon the canvas and allow God to paint what He will. And I am most certainly not superman, a hero or martyr, I am just your brother in Christ who wants you to see Him and His love reflected in your eyes and life. Maybe God isn’t guiding you to write, perhaps it’s painting, singing, a degree, diploma, parenting or business venture, whatever it is, the time will never be perfect, just take one small, prayerful, inspired step at a time and see what manifests despite your frailties, obstacles and challenges. God is real and really shows up when we bring all our brokenness to His throne of Love, Grace and Forgiveness.

Dear readers, thank you. I just wanted to share a little bit about me, and a lot about He Who writes through me.

~ Walk in Beauty,

Anthony Goulet

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The First Step is Always Purification

There was a young man who had made many mistakes but he wanted his life to be better. He wanted something different, positive and good. He wanted to smile again. The young man approached an older man who he knew had made many of the same mistakes as him. The young man asked the older man, “I know you’ve made many of the same mistakes I have and now your life is good. You’re living positive and helping others. You smile a lot. I want that. I want my life to be good. I want to live positive and help others. I want to smile again. How do I do that?”

The older man smiled, “The first step is always purification. First, go to God and pour your heart out to Him. Ask God to purify you, cleanse you, and put all the broken pieces together to make you whole again. Ask God to take you back to your heart to remember and reclaim your vision, dreams, and purpose.”

Looking discouraged the younger man said, “Well, I guess my life isn’t going to change anytime soon because it’s been many years since I’ve spoken with God. I’ve made too many mistakes to approach God right now.”

The older man smiled brightly and asked the young man, “Do you go to the soap when your hands are clean or when your hands are dirty?”

“When my hands are dirty,” the young man replied. As soon as the young man spoke those words he smiled again and went on his way to have a long overdue conversation with his Maker.

Purification

Marches Marching Past the Point

Another weekend of marches has passed us by, and another weekend of marches marched right past the most significant challenges we as humanity face – the millions of youth and young adults who are homeless, missing and exploited, and the millions of victims of domestic violence. Every single day and night around the world, those of us who work in the field of street outreach crisis counseling, emergency youth shelters, domestic violence shelters, and violence intervention, see that every emergency youth shelter and domestic violence shelter is almost always full.

My colleagues and I are willing to walk through the broken glass. We’re willing to carry the tears and blood on our shoulders. We’re willing to have the echoes of the screams of children replay in our minds when we least expect it during moments that we have to pray through, write through, and reach out to each other to get through. We’re willing to attempt to get the youth or young adults to give us the gun, knife or box cutter, and most of the time they do, and then we transport them to safety. We’re willing to be run off the road by pimps, have guns pointed at us or put to our heads, and be shot at. We’re willing to maneuver through gunfire to get a child to safety. We’re willing to intervene and interrupt violence by breaking up fights while large groups of people just watch, instigating or use their phones to record. We’re willing to stop a young person from throwing themselves into traffic and in the process almost be killed. We’re willing to walk into an abandoned building where the smoke from crack cocaine is so dense, that our tongue immediately goes numb and we want to vomit, yet somehow we push through because we’re focused on the young person we are there to serve, so we get that young person to go outside with us, break their glass pipe and allow us to transport them to a drug rehab. We’re willing to meet a mother and her children in the middle of the night and drive them to a domestic violence shelter because that’s the only time the mother can do it without being beaten or killed by the abuser she lives with. We’re willing to go to the hospital in the middle of the night to meet and connect with the young person who was a victim of gang violence to reduce the possibilities of retaliation, thus preventing more deaths and more parents having to bury a child. We’re willing, able and have done these things and so much more, and will continue as long as God allows us to do so, because it’s not work, it’s a calling.

My colleagues and I understand that not everyone is called to do what we do. However, not everyone is called to live in the Arctic and facilitate research on climate change, but articles, quotes and memes about climate change get millions of posts, shares and views on social media and all media. Look at that in proportion to the amount of posts, shares and views regarding homeless, missing and exploited youth and young adults and victims of domestic violence. The birth of a giraffe gets more attention than the homeless, missing and exploited youth and young adults and victims of domestic violence. Why? Possibly because the numbers are so staggering and so overwhelming that instead of people volunteering or becoming employed with the local emergency youth shelter, domestic violence shelter, violence intervention teams, street outreach teams or search and rescue teams, it’s easier to march for a couple of hours and make sure the plastic and biodegradables are separated.

Yes, simply put, it’s easier to not be in the trenches. The work is heartbreaking, trauma-filled and exhausting. Yet, the work is also filled with the most amazing moments of miracles that you could ever possibly experience. And please tell me what challenges we as humanity face that are more important than finding, rescuing and bringing the millions of homeless, missing and exploited youth and young adults, and victims of domestic violence to safety?

If any march marches past the homeless youth, it marched past the point. If any march marches past the emergency youth shelters and domestic violence shelters struggling to keep their doors open, it marched past the point. If any march marches past the hotels, houses, apartments and streets where predators are buying and selling children, it marched past the point. If any march marches past the marginalized, hungry and hurting, it marched past the point. If anyone can find a way to make time to organize, travel, attend, speak at, talk about, or write about a march, but cannot find the time to share a post about a missing child, they’ve marched way past the point.

For me it’s sad that we live in a world where quotes from politicians and celebrities capture the attention of millions and billions of people, but the 1.3 -1.7 million homeless youth in the United States, the millions of homeless youth worldwide, the 600,000 – 800,000 women, children and men bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for forced labor and commercial sex, the two million children who are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade, the 20.9 million victims of sex trafficking worldwide, and the 10 – 20 million victims of domestic violence are marched past on the streets and on social media.

Please, if you’re unwilling or unable to do anything else, just share one post a day on your social media accounts about a missing child and/or information about where victims of exploitation or abuse can call or text to get help. It can save a life. 

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