"I'm not interested in talking about your rap sheet" is what I told him.
Sure. It would have been easy and simple to make this a conversation layered with stories about his less precarious past. Anecdotes about his run-ins with the law, to local gangs, to friends that are not with us anymore, to pushing, to incarceration...
That, in my opinion was an easy route and consequentially a small thread in the tapestry that defines my next guest's journey.
Indeed, though his work as a poet, author, speaker, youth counselor and International Arms Dealer(not the kind you're thinking of), Svens Telemaque stood out to me as a true testament in regards to the fact that we truly are not defined by our past circumstances - but are certainly shaped by them.
This exchange was a long time coming as I'd been meaning to have Svens on the podcast for quite a long time. I'll admit he'd been added rather early to the increasingly long list of potential guests I'd been considering for this program.
What eventually transpired was a truly powerful, engaging and at times vulnerable exchange with an individual who, even having clearly connected with his sense of purpose, is still actively learning to strike the balance between his personal frailties and his mission to serve.
I'm thankful to Svens for his many lessons in courage, resilience and accountability throughout this amazing exchange.