Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Illusion of Safety

So I'm having this very ordinary dream the other night - you know, the kind where you're at a gas station with some friends eating hot dogs - nothing too big. As we're leaving this gas station a group of very thuggish looking men begin moving aggressively and antagonistically towards us. While attempting to evade them there's an incredibly loud BANG! My eyes shoot wide open immediately from the dream as I hear the report of two following - BANG BANG. Then a scream. A scream that is long. A scream that comes from the deepest part of the body and brings with it all of the terror and torment a person is capable of feeling. A haunting scream. Next two men briefly exchange angry, shouting words before there are two more - BANG BANG. Screaming again. Five gun shots have awoken me at 4am and I immediately call 911. The assailants appear to be gone now, but the echoes of that scream, of that fight, of that attempt to kill reverberate in my head for an hour. I can't go back to sleep; I almost don't want to.

It's easy to forget about the violent and volatile reality that so many of our neighbors live in. I thank God today for the peace and stability he has created in our lives. It is an immeasurable grace that we don't live an existence where we are in constant fear of being physically assaulted on the street, verbally abused at home, deprived of food and basic care, etc. But so many of our neighbors do. To those, may the gospel and the steadfast love of God be revealed quickly, and may we as the Church be eager to herald that message.

p.s. Friends and family: please still come and visit us - the reality of our neighborhood is not what this particularly sensational story might make it appear. We truly feel as safe here as we ever have. NYC is the safest big city in America and the crime statistics in our particular neighborhood are essentially the same as the UES - the most family friendly neighborhood in Manhattan!