I want to run. I want to hide. I want to sit in a dark room and rock. I want to move to the country where I imagine everything is beautiful. I want a ranch house with a wraparound porch and trees to climb and no neighbors. I want to live 100 years ago, maybe 200. I want anything but this.
A man was killed in the alley. My alley. Beaten, stripped, assaulted, shot.
A boy was killed over north. Not far from Mango's school.
A woman was shot at a vigil for peace.
I want to back out. I want to cop out. Helpless. Hopeless. Angry. Anxious. Afraid. I feel all those things.
And yet, when you ask my why I am here, I will tell you that it is to bear witness. To see and know what happens here because so few people will ever really know. And then I can raise the awareness of those who don't know. I can speak for the people who cannot speak for themselves.
But I will tell you right now that I have no words. My mouth is empty. My stomach is hollow. My eyes burn. I want to close them. I want to stop witnessing these moments. I want to stop fighting this fight.
But I won't. Because we have always been about living life on the edge. Because I don't want to be safe and out of touch. Or maybe I do, but it's too late.
Oh, come, Lord Jesus, come. Yeshua, we need you.
I am still here in this neighborhood. The tightness in my chest has eased. Yesterday I was stuck in an awful situation and FIVE of my neighbors came to my rescue, while another offered good, sound and necessary advice. Yet another listened to the story and offered prayers. Friends from outside the neighborhood prayed and listened. Vespera and Niteo sent encouraging text messages all day.
And at the end of the day, I could do nothing but say that I am truly blessed. I was in the middle of something horrible and something wonderful all at once. I couldn't wallow in my anger, indignation, frustration or even just plain sadness because it was so glaringly obvious that I am blessed anyway.
This is what it has meant for us, time and again to be called to this life. We have been given much. Much will be required of us. It is painfully difficult. But so poignantly beautiful.