The neighborhood is changing. I don't know how or why, but it is. Things have gotten progressively worse since I got here almost three years ago. I have always felt safe living here though; I don't get into trouble with anyone, I always try to be friendly and say hello when passing someone walking or driving along, I'm free with smiles and waves. And I guess I still feel safe living here, but the annoyance level has risen considerably. All the trouble seems to be stemming from the back alley. It's where the gunfights of the past have been, where the almost riot was a few weeks ago, where the drug deals go down, and where the kids play. Sad, I know. Two or three nights ago, just as I was getting into bed for the night, I heard the sound of conversation, but as if from a radio. I looked out my window and sure enough, cops, wandering 'round the building, talking on their radios. I look in the back alley - two patrol cars...parked in front of that same dang gone building. This building recently fenced in their "back yard" area, with a solid wood, 9 foot tall fence - all the better to conduct deals in, I'm sure. The cops met another man around back, and there was much complaining and gesturing to that
building. I heard him angrily repeat the phrase, "...every day this happens, everyday when I get home from work..." I don't know what they were talking about, but based on prior experience, I'm ready to believe anything this guys is saying at face value. Once the man left, the cops sort of shrugged and said to one another, "Nothing really much we can do."
O, how I can't wait to live in a place where the background noise isn't sirens and screaming. Where there are not gunfights. Where there are not almost race riots with the police. I look forward to my new house, where if I open the window, I might hear the traffic from the road a little ways away, or maybe even the frogs and crickets. But no more police radios. No more gunfire. No more yelling, screaming, constant streams of profanity. No more domestic abuse. No more child abuse. I'm tired of seeing and hearing all that. For everything I like and love about living in this city, and there is plenty, I'm ready for a slower, calmer pace of life.
"No more domestic abuse. No more child abuse. I'm tired of seeing and hearing all that."
Nice try, Ryan. There is no such place. No matter how many crickets, or how slow the pace of life, so long as we live on the fallen Earth, there will be domestic abuse and child abuse. How I pray every day that weren't true, but it is.
And here's the thing, if you want to be true to your call as a priest, and as a representative of Jesus' transforming power to that broken world, when you stop "seeing and hearing all that," it'll be time to get really worried. Because it will still be there. And the silence should be scarier to you than the gunshots.