An urban reflection. A reflection of life, one year spent in this inner-city neighborhood called Jefferson. My thoughts immediately turn to the dramatic, the gunshots 3 houses down, a neighborhood boy being hit by a car as we did a zoo trip, the recent muggings on the pedestrian bridge, our lawnmower being stolen out of our back-yard, vandalism to our vehicle. The day I made Ivan get out of the car and check the man sprawled out spread-eagle in the alley to make sure he wasn’t dead…
The darkness is dark, and I must admit, sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it. When I do, I think of Genesis 1:2; “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The Spirit of God was hovering… what a powerful image, the very life and breath that raised Jesus from death, the grips of Darkness itself, hovers over us. The formlessness, the emptiness, the chaos, He knows, He is there. He is hovering over our streets; he hovers over each family, each precious person.
He hovers about the young woman who runs the street pursued by a man bellowing obscenities at her. He hovers over every silent victim of domestic abuse. He hovers around the home of our meth-addicted neighbors. He hovers in the Bulldog house filled with boys trapped in gang lifestyles. He hovers by the woman on the corner of McKenzie and Belmont.
Some days I think that I’m in over my head. that this kind of lifestyle isn’t sustainable for me. How much do I let in and how much ‘just happens?’ Does anything just happen anyway.
Ivan has fostered a great relationship with a family a street away. Her two sons adore him. They stand outside our gate and yell without taking a breath, “Ivan, Ivan, Ivan…” until we open the door. It was 10:30pm and we heard that little voice we recognized. “What’s up man” Ivan asked as he opened the front door, “I won my football game!” We were proud of the little dude and told him so, and then told him to head home because it was late.
Today Ivan made good on his promise to them- a trip to the zoo, all guys and to make it adventurous, on bikes! They were so excited that they left 3 message on my phone during church anticipating our arrival home. Ivan and the boys drank up on water, laced up shoes, tightened helmets and then headed out.
I got a call- “Little Christians’ been hit by a car the ambulance is here and it doesn’t look good. Bring his mom…”
Hm. I load up the bikes, jamming the twisted one onto the trunk of my car. We’ll be ok, and he will be ok. In fact, I can see all the neighborhood kids clammering around him now.